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Organ donation, then deportation reprieve in Minnesota case

Many of our posts discuss very specific immigration issues, such as the availability of work visas or the proposals to expand the Deferred Action program.

Sometimes, however, it is important to look closely at stories of people who are deeply affected by how large-scale immigration issues are resolved in particular cases.

In this post, then, let’s look at the touching story of a father and son from southwestern Minnesota whose lives are in turmoil due to a health crisis and federal deportation policies.

Both father and son are undocumented immigrants from Mexico who live in the St. James area. Federal immigration officials had ordered both men to leave the U.S. by next week.

Today, however, Minnesota Public Radio reported that the two men have been given at least a one-year reprieve from deportation.

A few years ago, the father donated a kidney to his son. The transplant was successful, but the son must take multiple medications every day to ensure that his body does not reject the organ.

The son’s doctor was concerned that sending someone with such a compromised kidney to Mexico could be tantamount to a death sentence. This is because of the large gap between the high cost of the medications and the low prevailing-wage scales in Mexico compared to the U.S.

The father and son would have had to return to the Vera Cruz region of Mexico, where they were from. But it simply would not be possible to earn enough money there to pay for the medications necessary to keep the son’s body from rejecting the kidney he got from his father.

People in the St. James community have rallied to the cause of the father and son. People raised money, such as through an enchilada feed, to help pay for the kidney transplant.

It remains to be seen, however, whether the father and son will be allowed to remain in the U.S. legally after the one-year reprieve from deportation is up. That is why Amy Klobuchar said the case is an example of why immigration reform is needed.

Source: Mankato Free Press, “St. James father and son get deportation repreive,” Mark Steil (MPR), Jan. 8, 2014

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