The Trump administration is re-opening immigration cases for people in the United States seeking medical treatment after previously denying those applications without warning, saying they had to leave the U.S. in little more than a month.
“While limiting USCIS’ role in deferred action is appropriate, USCIS will complete the caseload that was pending on August 7,” the announcement said on Monday.
Although the reversal re-opens the cases that were pending, it’s still uncertain how future applications will be handled.
ABC News previously reported that starting on Aug. 7, some non-citizens who had pending immigration cases were sent letters from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services informing them that they had 33 days to leave the country.
This included individuals who were in the U.S. for medical treatment, but according to the letters obtained by ABC News, the individuals were told that agency offices, "no longer consider deferred action requests," except for members of the military.
ABC News spoke last week with 14-year-old Serena Badia, who is undergoing treatment in the U.S. for a severe heart condition. Her mother, Conchita Badia, said Tuesday the family is “somewhat more relieved” by the news but is still worried about what the government might do next.
Mahsa Khanbabai, the family’s lawyer, said the reversal hasn’t stopped the fear and confusion for her clients.
“It is a temporary retreat in an attempt to minimize the extensive public image fiasco, but they have only delayed the trauma to these kids for when they need to renew,” Khanbabai told ABC News.
If they’re approved, the requests for delayed deportation are typically granted for two years, Khanbabai said. USCIS has not said if approved applicants will be able to reapply after their two years are up.
A USCIS official said Monday that it is still under consideration whether a limited version of the deferred action program for non-military applicants will be continued.