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Immigrant pleads for life saving deferral from USCIS

Transplant patient denied insurance due to change of status

His health insurance now expired, an Ann Arbor immigrant, along with his attorney and supporters, stood before the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) regional field office in Detroit to make a public appeal to end the delay responding to this year’s request for a deferral on humanitarian grounds. Abraham Navarrete-Morales had a kidney transplant last year and now depends on medication to survive. Through years of dialysis, USCIS has given him a legal status that allowed him to work and take care of his health. The lack of response this year has made it impossible for Morales to renew his insurance policy and fill his prescriptions.

"Further delay on this application could have deadly consequences," said his immigration attorney, Brad Thomson. "If the application is approved, Abraham will immediately be able to re-enroll in his private health insurance and obtain his life-saving medications."

Attorney Brad Thomson (left) with Abraham Navarrete-Morales (right)

Morales and Thomson are asking USCIS field director, Michael Klinger to step in and expedite the adjudication of his request for a continuation of his status. The non-response leaves Morales in a limbo where he can’t get insurance or appeal a denial. “The transplant was life changing. I didn’t have to spend all day in dialysis and I could go back to work. I was looking forward to going to school,” said Morales. “Now I’m very nervous. I don’t know what’s going to happen next or where I’m going to be able to get the medicine I need to keep my new kidney healthy.”

Rev. Jill Hardt-Zundel, Central United Methodist church Detroit

Morales has good reason to worry. The Trump administration has recently begun denying protection to immigrants like him. He’s not alone in this concern. Flora Rranxburgaj, an Albanian immigrant has a similar deferral because she has Multiple Sclerosis. She lives in Central United Methodist church with her husband and caregiver, Ded, who has taken sanctuary there to avoid his own deportation.

“This administration finds new ways to demonstrate its heartlessness every day,” said Flora’s pastor, Rev. Jill Hardt-Zundel. “If Abraham isn’t safe, how is Flora going to stay safe? How can any of us feel safe?”

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