September 11, 2019

Following House Testimony, Harris Praises Courage of Isabel Bueso and Urges Administration to Protect Medical Deferred Action

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Kamala D. Harris (D-CA) on Wednesday commended California resident Maria Isabel Bueso for her courageous testimony before the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform and urged the Trump administration to restore the deferred action policy that has allowed Bueso to receive life-saving treatment in the United States for the past 16 years. Bueso has a rare genetic disorder that cannot be treated in Guatemala, her country of birth—yet she recently received a letter from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) giving her and her family 33 days to leave the United States.

Last month, the Trump administration—without any public notice—stopped considering certain “deferred action” requests. Under this longstanding policy, immigrants could seek to remain in the United States while they receive life-saving medical treatment. While USCIS has since announced that it will reopen deferred action requests that were pending as of August 7, Bueso’s testimony today underscored the extent to which the administration’s erratic immigration policy has created distress and uncertainty for families already facing extraordinary circumstances.

“The United States should not be in the business of deporting individuals like Isabel who rely on the life-saving treatment they receive in our country. Simply put, this administration’s decision is a death sentence,” said Harris. “Isabel’s brave testimony before Congress today was a striking reminder of the best of who we are. She and others fighting serious illnesses deserve better than this inhumane policy that creates fear and anxiety within vulnerable communities.”

Harris has taken a number of actions on behalf of Bueso, her family, and other individuals who are now facing potential deportation.

  • On August 20, Harris’ office sent USCIS an urgent inquiry requesting clarification regarding why Bueso’s deferred action request had been denied and whether there was a process for it to be reconsidered. USCIS did not respond.
  • On August 27, Harris and Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA) sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan requesting reconsideration of the decision to deny deferred action to Bueso and her family.
  • On August 30, Harris signed a bicameral letter to USCIS, DHS, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) expressing concern over the decision to stop considering certain requests for deferred action and the lack of transparency around its implementation.

Since USCIS announced it would reopen certain deferred action cases, Harris’ office has continued to press the agency for a response regarding Bueso’s case and clarity on which cases will be reconsidered going forward.