top of page

Facing Our Huddled Masses

Photo: Nic Antaya for The Boston Globe
Sirlen Costa of Brazil held her son, Samuel, 5, whose life depends upon his medical deferment, scheduled for termination. With niece Danyelle Sales

In the run-up to the 2019 Labor Day weekend in America, Trump's administration unleashed the latest atrocity of its immigration policy, detailed in a Boston Globe article:

“Severely ill immigrants, including children with cancer, cystic fibrosis, and other grave conditions" would be summarily deported—effectively consigning some of them to certain death.

The abject barbarity of this suggestion has raised such an outcry that the policy has been hastily withdrawn by an unapologetic White House, albeit without consideration for alternative initiatives or any indication of how these critical cases will be handled going forward.

How shall I face my country?

When bone cancer hollowed out half my face, I required a decade’s worth of reconstructive surgeries. I was able to stitch together enough health care coverage to pursue my best possible options, including a consult with facial surgeon Mr. Iain Hutchison of St Bartholomew's and The Royal London Hospitals. He spent almost three hours with me, sharing information and buttressing my failing spirits. As I departed the cranio-facial suite, I prepared to pay the cost of my consult, without hesitation. I was gobsmacked to hear the cashier say, “Oh no, you pay nothing. We have the NHS (National Health Service).”

Now almost two decades later, my country, my own wealthy, scientifically and technologically advanced country, supremely privileged in the community of nations, has not only not achieved any comparable oversight of the health of its own citizens—it has now weaponized its most extravagant assets, against the most vulnerable of us all.

Click here to urge your congress members become active in the Rare Disease Congressional Caucus, co-chaired by Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar. Click here to read more about my bout with craniofacial bone cancer.


bottom of page