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USCIS reverses decision on medical deferred action

For Immediate Release  
Contact: bpacheco@nylag.org | c: 917.771.9845

(NEW YORK, NY) September 20, 2019: Last month, the Trump Administration significantly changed protocol for medical deferred action, which allows immigrants to remain in the U.S. while they receive life-saving medical treatments. This week, that change was reversed. The New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG) Director of the LegalHealth Division, Randye Retkin, has issued the following statement:

“After much legal and public pressure, I am glad to share that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), the administrative arm of DHS, has reversed its decision and will continue to use their power to consider requests for deferred action for medical reasons

“This was a real team effort, both within NYLAG and with advocates across the country. My division LegalHealth worked with other NYLAG colleagues in our Pro Bono and Special Litigation Units. We worked behind the scenes to connect with various groups across the country, helped to organize the heads of NYC hospitals to sign a joint statement submitted for congressional hearings, prepared to bring litigation, and so much more.   

“Let’s never forget that these humane immigration policies help children and adults with cancer, clients in need of organ transplants and those with other life-threatening conditions. USCIS’s previous departure from this immigration policy was a direct attack on vulnerable immigrant populations with life-threatening illnesses. We will continue to monitor this policy closely and to oppose all threats to immigrant rights.”


Founded in 1990, the New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG) is a leading not-for-profit legal services organization advocating for adults, children, and families that are experiencing poverty or have low-income. We address emerging and urgent needs with comprehensive, free civil legal services, direct representation, impact litigation, policy advocacy, financial counseling, a medical-legal partnership model, and community education and partnerships.


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