Could the refugee and immigration ban hurt U.S. health care?
While much of the furor over President Trump’s controversial executive order on immigration is targeting what activists view as a cold-hearted rejection of thousands of refugees, other opponents of the policy argue that it will harm the U.S. by denying it thousands of skilled workers, including in health care.
On Monday the Association of American Medical Colleges released a statement warning that the policy could reduce the nation’s supply of doctors.
The AAMC says that 260 people from the seven countries included in Trump’s ban — Iraq, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Libya and Yemen — have applied for medical residency in the U.S.
Last year, the association warned the country was not training enough new doctors to accommodate its growing population. It predicted that the U.S. would experience a shortage of between 61,000 and 95,000 doctors by 2025, including a shortage of between roughly 15,000 and 35,000 primary care physicians. The concerns voiced by the organization were poignantly displayed by the story of Suha Abushamma, a 26-year-old from Saudi Arabia who was denied entry to the U.S. on her way to begin her residency at the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic. While Saudi Arabia is not one of the banned countries, Abushamma is a citizen of Sudan, which is.
The AAMC voiced hope that it would be able to collaborate with the Trump administration to undo “the damaging long-term impact on patients and health care” that it said the executive order will create. Other industries are also voicing concerns about the effect the order will have on their ability to recruit skilled employees.
Leaders of major tech firms, such as Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and Google have denounced the executive order in both moral and economic terms, highlighting the large numbers of immigrant employees they have from the seven impacted countries.
Other notable employers voicing opposition to the refugee ban include Starbucks, which vowed to hire 10,000 refugees over the next five years, and Goldman Sachs, whose CEO said the banking giant “must attract, retain and motivate people from many backgrounds and perspectives.”