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Boston – Immigrant advocates in Boston say federal authorities are unfairly ordering foreign-born children granted special immigration status for medical treatment to return to their countries.

The Irish International Immigrant Center says it’s aware of at least five local families who have received notices this month to leave the U.S. within 33 days.

The families have “medical deferred action” that enables them to receive government-funded health care and work legally while their children receive treatment.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services says in letters sent to the families that the agency is no longer accepting deferred action requests. The exception is for certain military members and their families approved by the Department of Homeland Security.

An email seeking comment was sent to the immigration agency.

Advocates say similar notices have been recently issued in California, North Carolina and elsewhere.

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