Administration Appears to Reverse Decision to Deport Critically Ill Children After Pressure from Oversight Committee

Sep 19, 2019
Press Release

Washington, D.C. (Sept. 19, 2019)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, and Rep. Jamie Raskin, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, issued public statements after receiving word that the Trump Administration appears to have reversed its misguided policy of deporting critically ill children and their families. 

Earlier today, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) sent the following notification to the Oversight Committee:

“We wanted to let you know that, at the direction of Acting Secretary McAleenan, USCIS is resuming its consideration of non-military deferred action requests on a discretionary, case-by-case basis, except as otherwise required by an applicable statute, regulation, or court order.”

DHS’s announcement came a week after devastating testimony from witnesses at an emergency hearing on September 11, 2019.  At the same hearing, the Trump Administration blocked employees from answering basic questions about who decided on the policy, why the policy was implemented, or whether the White House was involved.

The DHS statement also came one day after the Committee announced that it would be holding another hearing next week—this time with Acting USCIS Director Ken Cuccinelli and Acting ICE Director Matthew Albence.

Responding to today’s announcement from the Trump Administration, Chairman Cummings stated:

“If today’s statement is accurate, it appears that the Trump Administration is reversing its inhumane and disastrous decision to deport critically ill children and their families who are receiving life-saving medical treatment in the United States.  It should not take an emergency hearing by Congress—and threats for more—to force the Trump Administration to do the right thing.  Because of the secrecy and obstruction surrounding this policy, we will be taking additional steps to verify that these children and their families do not need to live in fear and uncertainty.  Our Committee will continue to seek answers about who was responsible for this cruel policy in the first place. I want to thank Chairman Raskin, Representatives Ayanna Pressley and Mark DeSaulnier, and the countless others who have brought attention to this issue.”

In addition, Chairman Jamie Raskin offered the following statement:

“In these dark days of continuing government assaults on human rights and human dignity, this appears to be a moment of good news. It is remarkable that it takes emergency hearings in Congress and a national uproar to protect seriously ill children from facing deportation. We will make sure that the reversal of this policy is real and complete, and we will work to determine where it came from. I want to commend Chairman Cummings and Representatives Ayanna Pressley and Mark DeSaulnier for their passionate work on this, and I want to salute the hundreds of thousands of Americans who protested the inhumanity and arbitrariness of this policy.” 

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116th Congress