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PA Attorney General Joins 15 Other Attorneys General in Amicus Brief Regarding Executive Order on Immigration; Brief Cites Impact on Medical Institutions

February 07, 2017

Pennsylvania’s Attorney General Josh Shapiro joined with 15 other Democratic attorneys general in an amicus brief supporting Washington state’s lawsuit against President Trump’s executive order on immigration. The amicus brief calls for upholding the federal court decision to temporarily restrain the order and to deny the federal government’s emergency motion for a stay.

Along with legal and economic arguments, the amicus brief cites the potential for “disruption” to colleges and universities, as well as to medical institutions, including:

  • The need for faculty at academic institutions, including medical schools, with “specialized expertise” that are filled by individuals with J-1 visas
  • The impact on medical residency staffing that occurs on March 17 with matched residents beginning their programs on July 1
  • The impact on second and third year medical residents who may be unable to renew or extend their visas
  • The impact on employment of individuals by hospitals, health systems, community health centers, and other institutions, particularly in providing specialty and primary care in underserved communities

The American Hospital Association (AHA), the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), and the American Medical Association (AMA) all have issued statements citing concerns regarding the impact the executive order could have on providing care to patients, and medical education and research and the need for the order to be reconsidered.

According to the AMA, one out of every four practicing physicians in the United States are international medical graduates (IMG), who must meet the same requirements as are applied to graduates of United States’ medical schools. The AMA also notes that “IMGs are more likely to practice in underserved and poorer communities.”

The AAMC has indicated that as many as 260 applicants to medical residency programs in the United States may be impacted by the executive order. They further note that the United States is facing a serious physician shortage and that the order could have “a damaging long-term impact on patients and health care.” As a result, the AAMC has coordinated a joint letter with 50 other national health care organizations to offer “assistance in developing measured immigration policies that reflect the health care needs of the nation.”

The AHA also expressed the need to “find solutions to preserve patient access to medical and nursing expertise from across the globe, ensuring care is not disrupted.

The federal Appeals Court will be hearing oral arguments in the challenge to the executive order in the evening on February 6. HAP will keep members apprised of the status and implications to health care organizations of this case.

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