Supreme Court upholds DACA, preventing the deportation of nearly 30,000 healthcare workers

Residency Program Insider, June 24, 2020

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In a monumental decision last week, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the Trump administration’s decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act. This finding ultimately upheld DACA, protecting from deportation the nearly 30,000 healthcare professionals who are currently studying, training, or practicing medicine.

“The AMA has opposed the administration’s decision to end the DACA program since it was announced in 2017, joining 32 other leading health organizations in an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in support of shielding individuals protected by the DACA program—including the nearly 30,000 DACA recipients who work as health care professionals across the U.S.,” said Susan R. Bailey, MD, president of the American Medical Association (AMA). “We believe that the administration’s attempt to terminate the DACA program ignored these individuals’ enormous contributions to our country.”

The AMA notes that the healthcare system has come to rely heavily on DACA recipients and that rescinding the DACA program would have been a serious blow to the healthcare workforce, which is already facing shortages. In fact, the COVID-19 pandemic has served to highlight just how understaffed the healthcare field currently is.

According to the amicus brief filed by the Litigation Center of the American Medical Association and State Medical Societies in conjunction with 32 other organizations, each DACA recipient that is a physician (or physician trainee) is predicted for care for 1,533 to 4,600 patients per year, should they retain their work eligibility. Together, these DACA recipients can be expected to care for 1.7 to 5.1 million U.S. patients over the course of their careers. Removing this population from the physician workforce would therefore be detrimental to patients.

Source: American Medical Association

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