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Top Immigration Official Grilled over Move to Deport Critically Ill Immigrants

HeadlineOct 31, 2019

On Capitol Hill, Democrats on the House Oversight Committee grilled senior immigration official Ken Cuccinelli Wednesday over his agency’s moves to deport immigrants receiving life-saving medical treatment — including children and babies.

In September, following public outcry, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services reversed its decision to end deferred deportations for immigrants with serious medical conditions.

At Wednesday’s hearing, Missouri Democratic Congressmember William Clay pressed Cuccinelli, the acting director of USCIS, over the cases of parents of critically ill newborn babies who were told they had 33 days to leave the United States or face deportation. 

Rep. William Lacy Clay: “You want them to leave the country? Pack up their stuff, take their sick child and go?”

Ken Cuccinelli: “Either that or make their case in the immigration process where it’s appropriate to do so” —

Rep. William Lacy Clay: “All in the middle of” —

Ken Cuccinelli: — “to stay. To stay.”

Rep. William Lacy Clay: “All in the middle of them being there, trying, hoping and praying that they save their child’s life?”

Ken Cuccinelli: “Which is why deferred action continues to exist elsewhere in DHS.”

Rep. William Lacy Clay: “How cruel! How cruel! Really? Really? I don’t believe this. I yield back.”

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