October 16, 2019

Feinstein, Graham Introduce Private Immigration Bill for California Patient Maria Isabel Bueso

Washington—Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) today introduced legislation to provide permanent immigration relief for Maria Isabel Bueso, a 24-year-old Guatemalan woman living in California who is receiving lifesaving medical treatment for Mucopolysaccharidosis VI (MPS-VI), a rare genetic disease.

After living in the United States legally for years, Bueso and her family were told in August they had a month before they had to leave because the Trump administration was eliminating the medical deferred action program, which allows individuals with serious medical conditions to remain in the United States to receive lifesaving treatment. The administration has since reversed that decision, but the Bueso family’s application is still pending.

“Our country has to show compassion for patients like Maria Isabel Bueso,” Senator Feinstein said. “After hearing her story, I don’t know how anyone could lack the compassion necessary to help her stay, which this bill will do. Unfortunately, thousands of other patients and family caregivers find themselves in a similar situation. I hope the administration will quickly approve their medical deferrals so they can remain in the United States and continue to receive the care they desperately need.”

Maria Isabel Bueso came to the United States in 2003 at the invitation of doctors who were conducting a clinical trial to treat MPS-VI. That trial led to FDA-approved treatment for individuals with the condition. Bueso now receives this lifesaving treatment every week at UCSF Children’s Hospital in Oakland, Calif. That treatment is not available in Guatemala.

While the administration has reinstated the deferred action program for medical patients, it would only provide temporary relief to the Bueso family if they are approved. The private bill would allow the Bueso family to apply for immigrant visas or permanent residence during that timeframe.

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