Concord Woman Tells Congress How Deportation Policy Change Threatens her Life

Maria Isabel Bueso, 24, of Concord, Calif., left, and Jonathan Sanchez, 16, of Boston, who both have medical deferred action, take their places at the start of a House Oversight subcommittee hearing into the Trump administration’s decision to stop considering requests from immigrants seeking to remain in the country for medical treatment and other hardships, Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

A Concord woman who immigrated to the United States as a young girl to receive life-saving medical care urged Congress on Wednesday to do what it can to prevent her from being deported, possibly to die from her illness.

“Thinking about you’re going to die when you have so many dreams and hopes for your life, it’s devastating,” Isabel Bueso testified during a congressional hearing in Washington, D.C.

She told Congress how her family moved to the United States so she could undergo clinical trials and get ongoing medical treatment that isn’t available in her native Guatemala for mucopolysaccharidoses, a rare, deadly genetic disorder. Since then, Bueso, now 24, has received weekly infusions, which are covered by private medical insurance.

She and her family received a notice last month from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services advising that their authorization to remain in the United States had expired and wouldn’t be extended as it was many times before. The Aug. 13 letter said if they do not leave within 33 days, proceedings to deport them could be initiated.

After public outcry, Citizenship and Immigration Services reported in early September it would reconsider the deferred action requests by immigrants seeking to extend their stay under special conditions such as medical treatment.

But the agency did not reveal whether the administration would change the policy it appeared to enact in August to deny nonmilitary authorized exemptions, and in Wednesday’s congressional hearing, immigration officials refused to answer questions about how it will handle those cases.

After Bueso’s testimony, members of Congress interrogated Timothy Robbins, acting executive associate director of enforcement and removal operation at ICE, and Daniel Renaud
associate director of field operations directorate at Citizenship and Immigration Services, about the policy.

But neither man would say who enacted the policy change in August, why and what it actually was.

“This is the perfect Trump administration policy,” said Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Maryland. “We don’t know what the policy is, where it came from, why we have it. It is the occasion for great frustration for Congress of the United States.”

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