(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Today, Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-MD) joined Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Immigration and Citizenship Subcommittee Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-CA), Congressman Lou Correa (D-CA), Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA), Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Senator Edward J. Markey (D-MA) and other lawmakers in sending a letter to Acting Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kevin McAleenan, Acting U.S. Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Ken Cucinelli, and Acting U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director Matthew T. Albence demanding answers on USCIS’s decision to end consideration of non-military deferred action requests, commonly known as medical deferred action. In the letter, the lawmakers called on the agencies to turn over any documents discussing the policy change by September 13, 2019.

Medical deferred action provides temporary relief from deportation for immigrants, and their families, with life-threatening health conditions that cannot be properly treated if they were deported. Earlier this month, applicants for medical deferred action began receiving letters from USCIS rejecting their request for deportation deferral and notified them that they have 33 days to depart the country or risk deportation. USCIS did not issue a public announcement of the medical deferred action policy change nor did the agency provide an opportunity for public comment. According to news reports, USCIS is also forcing applicants to apply for medical deferred action through Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) even though ICE claims that they do not have any existing protocols that will allow them to process medical deferred action applications.

“In recent years, USCIS has repeatedly implemented far-reaching new measures without adequate notice or clear explanation,” wrote the lawmakers. “This policy change is unfair to families who followed longstanding USCIS procedures for requesting deferred action, only to discover in a denial letter that those policies have changed.  Additionally, it is extremely troubling that USCIS applied this policy retroactively, stunning families who requested protection long before the policy took effect.”

Next Friday, September 6, 2019, at 1pm ET the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties will hold a hearing on medical deferred action titled: “The Administration’s Apparent Revocation of Medical Deferred Action for Critically Ill Children.” The hearing will take place in the Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2154.

The letter is also signed by Representatives Cedric Richmond (D-LA), Jennifer Wexton (D-VA), Cheri Bustos (D-IL), Salud O. Carbajal (D-CA), John Sarbanes (D-MD), Seth Moulton (D-MA), John Garamendi (D-CA), Gregory W. Meeks (D-NY), Brendan Boyle (D-PA), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), Gilbert R. Cisneros, Jr. (D-CA), Andre Carson (D-IN), Al Lawson (D-FL), Anthony G. Brown (D-MD), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), Jahana Hayes (D-CT), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Antonio Delgado (D-NY), Jared Huffman (D-CA), Madeleine Dean (D-PA), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Scott H. Peters (D-CA), Marcia Fudge (D-OH), Alma S. Adams, P.h.D. (D-NC), Gerald E. Connolly (D-VA), Doris O. Matsui (D-CA), Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-VA), Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA), Brian Higgins (D-NY), Juan Vargas (D-CA), Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), Kim Schrier, M.D. (D-WA), Nanette Diaz Barragan (D-CA), Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Danny K. Davis (D-IL), Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), Paul D. Tonko (D-NY), Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), Karen Bass (D-CA), Ted W. Lieu (D-CA), Jimmy Gomez (D-CA), Daniel T. Kildee (D-MI), Jim Cooper (D-TN), Jim Himes (D-CT), Deb Haaland (D-NM), David Trone (D-MD), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA), Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), Adam B. Schiff (D-CA), Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-FL), Peter Welch (D-VT), Donald S. Beyer, Jr. (D-VA), Dina Titus (D-NV), Dwight Evans (D-PA), Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ), C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD), Joseph P. Kennedy, III (D-MA), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ), Joaquin Castro (D-TX), Tony Cardenas (D-CA), Raul M. Grijalva (D-AZ), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Steven Horsford (D-NV), Richard E. Neal (D-MA), Lori Trahan (D-MA), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Katie Hill (D-CA), Nydia Velázquez (D-NY), Sylvia Garcia (D-TX), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Jesús G. “Chuy” Garcia (D-IL), Ro Khanna (D-CA), Andy Levin (D-MI), James P. McGovern (D-MA), Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), Gwen Moore (D-WI), Veronica Escobar (D-TX), Julia Brownley (D-CA), Grace Meng (D-NY), Adam Smith (D-WA), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Eliot Engel (D-NY), Bill Foster (D-IL), Donald M. Payne Jr. (D-NJ), Conor Lamb (D-PA), Susan A. Davis (D-CA), Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Linda Sánchez (D-CA), Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Albio Sires (D-NJ), Diana DeGette (D-CO), Jackie Speier (D-CA), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Nita Lowey (D-NY), Yvette D. Clarke (D-NY), Terri A. Sewell (D-AL), Rick Larsen (D-WA), Katherine M. Clark (D-MA) and Senators Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Bernard Sanders (D-VT), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Cory A. Booker (D-NJ), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Thomas R. Carper (D-DE), Kamala D. Harris (D-CA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Richard J. Durbin (D-IL).

A copy of the signed letter is available here.