"This is not something that the Trump administration announced with great fanfare. Families all over the country just started receiving these letters saying you're going to be out in 33 days," Rachel Maddow said.
August 28, 2019

Rachel Maddow had a heartbreaking story last night about one of Trump's most inhumane positions yet.

"Shortly after Jonathan Sanchez was born, he was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, which is a progressive disease that damages the lungs and other organs in the body. Cystic fibrosis is hereditary. It has no cure. Anyone with cystic fibrosis needs serious, smart medical care. In part so Jonathan could get treatment for his cystic fibrosis at Boston's Children's Hospital, he has been getting treatment there and that treatment has been keeping him alive. Jonathan's mother says, quote, 'When he came here he was practically dying. In these last three years, we have been able to save him. The family tourist visa when they came to Boston, but when that visa ran out, the family applied to stay in this country legally under a program that's called medical deferred action. Medical deferred action allows immigrants to stay in the country legally if a child or another member of the family is receiving lifesaving treatment for dire health conditions.

"Then there's Chanel Norvill. She was visiting the United States from Guyana when their 4-year-old, her son Joaquin, suddenly fell very ill. His lungs collapsed. He had a seizure, required doctors to perform a tracheotomy. He also developed an infection in his colon that required the removal of his large intestine. He was 4 years old. Joaquin started treatment to control his seizures. Joaquin and his mother have stayed in this country so he can continue to receive that treatment due to the same program, medical deferred action. His mother says she fears for her son's life if they are kicked out of this country and forced to return to Guyana because the type of treatment he's been receiving here is not available for him there. She says she would, quote, 'be signing my son's death warrant' if they are forced to give up the care that he's getting now.

"And then there's Samuel Costa. Samuel Costa was just 3 years old when he was diagnosed with a rare disease that prevents his body from absorbing nutrients. He has an external feeding tube that he has to use to take in nutrition. He can't eat any solid food. His mother is from a remote part of Brazil. The complex and delicate treatment that he's receiving for his rare disease is not available where he's from, where they're from. His mother says about her son, quote, 'If he has to move to Brazil, that's it.' Meaning he'll die. She has been relying on the same program, medical deferred action, to keep her son in treatment, to manage her son's condition and keep him alive.

"Well, last week, Samuel's mother got an unexpected letter from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services telling her that that's all over now. The agency will no longer renew any applications to stay here under the medical deferred action program. Even if your child will die without it. The letter says, quote, 'You are not authorized to remain in the United States.' It then said that Samuel and his mother have 33 days to leave this country. 33 days. And so now kids like Samuel and Joaquin and Jonathan are facing what amounts to a literal death sentence.

"This is not something that the Trump administration announced with great fanfare. Families all over the country just started receiving these letters saying you're going to be out in 33 days. We know you've been staying here because the U.S. government recognizes that you staying here is what is keeping your child alive, but we're no longer obeying that principle and you need to be out in 33 days. These letters started arriving last week. Just learned about them today. Jonathan Sanchez, the first kid I described, the one with cystic fibrosis, he's 16 years old now. He says he doesn't know what he will be do if he's forced to return to the country from which his family immigrated, Honduras, but here's what he told Boston's NPR station.

If they deny the program, then I need to go back to my country and I will probably die. Because in my country there is no treatment for CF. Doctors don't even know what's the disease. The only ones who can help me are here in the United States.

A Boston attorney is fighting to stop this. Stay tuned.

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