Philly Hospital Nearly Deported Undocumented Immigrant, Family Says

A Guatemalan man seriously injured in a motorcycle crash in May was scheduled to be deported, according to his family. But they say they found out Wednesday that he now has another four weeks before a final decision is made

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Armando Vargas has been at Jefferson Torresdale Hospital in Northeast Philadelphia since suffering a serious head injury in a motorcycle crash.

The family of Vargas, a Guatemalan national and undocumented immigrant, said they found out this week that the hospital planned to send him back to his home country to continue receiving medical treatment there.

"Essentially, the hospital didn't want to pay for his ongoing medical treatment," the family's attorney, David Bennion of the Free Migration Project, told NBC10.

Vargas's niece, Claudia Martinez, said hospital officials told her that the decision for the deportation was apparently two-fold.

"They say because he doesn't have medical insurance and because he doesn't have papers (showing he's legally in the United States)," Martinez said.

The hospital declined to speak specifically about Vargas, but said there are no patients scheduled as of Wednesday afternoon to be deported.

"Jefferson Health does not transfer any patient without the consent of the patient, or if the patient cannot consent, a family member or their legally appointed decision maker," according to a statement from Jefferson Torresdale. "We have no out-of-country transfers scheduled from Jefferson Health - Northeast.”

Vargas's deportation has been postponed for at least four weeks, his family says, but it remains unclear what will happen once that time is up.

Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, the federal agency that handles most deportations, said it has nothing to do with Vargas's situation.

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