ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Facing deportation and serious health issues, an Ann Arbor man was granted a medical deferment to remain in the country as he receives treatment.
Abraham Navarrete-Morales, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico who came to the country in 2008, found out his kidneys were failing six years ago. Since then, he's been on dialysis.
"That was what I would say was the hardest part throughout this whole process. Because dialysis is not an easy thing to go through," said Abraham Navarrete-Morales. "You see patients passed away literally on the chair. People just passing out and I kind of wonder if I'm going to go next."
Then, his status expired in October last year, leaving his future in limbo as he faced mounting health consequences. Then, this September his private insurance stopped subsidizing the cost of his medication and treatment due to his legal status.
His situation became touch-and-go.
"For me to get on the phone and basically tell him that 'you're not allowed to stay here in the United States, this can be a potential death sentence, I'm going to do everything I can to help you stay here,'" said Brad Thomson, his attorney.
Good news came Thursday when after a year of a pending medical deferment option being in the balance, his attorney told Navarrete-Morales that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services approved his request.
"It was an absolute highlight of my career without a doubt," said Thomson.
That rush of euphoria was matched by Navarrete-Morales' own personal sense of glee. That's partly due to his opportunity to re-enroll in health insurance.
"I can tell you I'm going to have a good night's sleep for sure. It gave me a peace of mind knowing I'm back on track of what I want to do. Definitely," said Navarrete-Morales.
Since receiving a kidney transplant, Navarrete-Morales will require medication for the rest of his life. It costs about $7,000 a month, but with insurance that fee drops to $400-500 a month.
His temporary stay still has him nervous, however as he's not sure how long it will last.