WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Tim Kaine on Thursday sent a letter pressing Acting DHS Secretary McAleenan on reports that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) sent letters to immigrants with serious medical conditions indicating that the agency will no longer consider most deferrals of deportation.

The reports claim these decisions will now be made by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Extreme medical need in many of these cases reportedly includes patients and guardians of patients with conditions like cancer, cystic fibrosis, HIV, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, and epilepsy.

In the letter, Kaine raises concerns about the reported policy change and presses McAleenan for additional details.

“This shift in policy for ‘medical deferred action,’ if true, is alarming and cruel, as it could result in de facto death sentences for immigrants with extreme medical need who require treatments that are unavailable or inadequate in their country of origin,” Kaine wrote. “Mercy, compassion, and humanitarianism are core American values, and they are entirely consistent with proper enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws.”

View the full letter below:

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