East Bay woman with rare disease and facing deportation testifies before Congress

An East Bay woman who is facing deportation while undergoing life-saving medical treatment in Oakland, testified during an emergency hearing before a congressional subcommittee on Wednesday about how she and other families have been impacted by the Trump Administration’s decision to end medical deferred action.

Isabel Bueso, 24, of Concord, who has a rare and potentially fatal genetic disease, told members of the Oversight and Reform Committee’s Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties what it would mean if she were deported to her native Guatemala if her special medical visa was revoked. As she spoke in Washington, D.C., doctors, nurses and staff at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital in Oakland listened in on a screen. 

"I came here legally and have been a legal resident for 16 years," she told members of Congress. "My life expectancy was very short. I could die within a month if I don't get treatment. I am a human being with hopes and dreams." 

She implored the panel: "I'm asking Congress to come together. This is not a partisan issue."

On Aug. 30, Bueso and her family were  notified that her stay had expired, even though they were granted humanitarian status in 2009.

In the following days, the Trump administration said it  would review her case, but there are no guarantees she can stay, or for how long, according to her lawyer. It’s also unclear how many others are in her situation.

Members of the committee will probe representatives from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and Immigration and Customs Enforcement about what led to the secretive change to the medical deferred action program, according to U.S. Rep. Mark DeSaulnier. 

Last month,  DeSaulnier Jamie Raskin and Ayanna Pressly and 124 additional lawmakers led a bicameral letter to the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Customs and Immigration Services, and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement calling on them to turn over any documents discussing the termination of medical deferred action by Friday.  


This story was reported from Oakland, Calif. KTVU's Rob Roth contributed to this report.