Press Release

AFT President Weingarten Joins AFT Nurses and Leaders to Condemn Trump’s Policy to Deport Children and Families Seeking Medical Treatment

For Release: 

Thursday, August 29, 2019


Sarah Hager Mosby

WASHINGTON—Statement of American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, Ohio Nurses Association CEO Kelly Trautner, AFT Connecticut Vice President and registered nurse John Brady, and United University Professions President Frederick E. Kowal, following reports that the Trump administration is unfairly deporting foreign-born children who have been granted special immigration status for medical treatment:

The AFT’s Weingarten said: “First, he separated families. Then he threw children in cages without food, water or showers. And now, in his cruelest move yet, Donald Trump is signing death sentences by deporting children with cancer and other illnesses, and in some cases deporting the parents of their sick and dying kids, leaving children alone in their most vulnerable hour. Just when you thought the callousness couldn’t get worse, Trump rose to the occasion and proposed the unimaginable. 

The long-standing legal practice of medical deferred action has been used by this country to show compassion and humanity, keeping families together when children are critically ill and will die if they are deported. Sadly, as we have come to find out, humanity is not in Trump’s lexicon. As the families of these sick children look desperately for answers to keep those children alive, let the history books show that Trump led the charge to promote this depraved indifference to children’s lives.”

The Ohio Nurses Association’s Trautner said: “As a union of nurses and other health professionals, every day we see firsthand the toll terminal illness takes on families. At their lowest and most vulnerable time, families look for compassion and care. But with Trump’s new policy to deport sick immigrant children, we are adding insult to injury, isolating and abandoning the very children we signed up to protect. He should be ashamed.”

AFT Connecticut’s Brady said: “I recently visited McAllen, Texas, where union leaders, community members and clergy were barred from seeing the children in detention. As a nurse who has spent 21 years at the bedside caring for sick children, I was ashamed then, but this news takes my shame to another level. This is a horrendous act that goes against our ethics as healthcare professionals, public employees and educators. We cannot tolerate this inhumanity.”

United University Professions’ Kowal said: “This latest Trump administration edict is heinous, hateful and inhumane. These critically ill children—we’re talking about kids with diseases like cancer, leukemia and muscular dystrophy—will certainly perish if they are deported because in many cases, the lifesaving healthcare they so desperately need isn’t available outside the United States. This heartless action must not be allowed to stand, and UUP members will do all we can to challenge and defeat it.”



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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.