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Position Statement: MCN Condemns Trump Administration Announcement of ICE Raids

Position Statement: MCN Condemns Trump Administration Announcement of ICE Raids

“Next week ICE will begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States.” -President Trump, via Twitter, June 17, 2019

Migrant Clinicians Network (MCN) strongly condemns the Trump Administration’s announcement of future mass immigration arrests. The President’s tweet earlier this week greatly threatens the health and well-being of millions.

“In a newly released MCN poll, ‘fear’ was the most commonly used term when clinician respondents spoke of immigrant and migrant patients’ attitudes and feelings toward health care access or receiving care. The stepped-up rhetoric this week announcing the deportation of millions will only exacerbate these feelings,” said Karen Mountain, MBA, MSN, RN, MCN’s Chief Executive Officer. “Rhetoric alone, even without follow-up action, has significant implications on the health of immigrants and migrants, who avoid care out of fear of traveling, fear of exposing their immigration status or that of a household member, and fear of using services that they are eligible to use.”

Seventy-one clinicians from 17 states and Puerto Rico participated in the poll. Dozens of comments indicated that immigrant and migrant patients around the country are too fearful to access health services.

“Current anti-immigration rhetoric and actual policy proposals and programmatic work by the administration [are] scaring people away,” noted one clinician participant. “Most are afraid to come to the clinic for care,” said another clinician respondent, reflecting many other clinician comments in the poll.

“Fear is influencing whether patients seek medical care or put it off until the medical condition is so severe that it outweighs the risks of getting stopped by ICE,”  said Laszlo Madaras, MPH, MD, Chief Medical Officer of MCN. “Imagine your loved one is fighting cancer or getting treatment for tuberculosis in the United States. Even if you and your loved one are authorized to live and work in the US, but another member of your household is not, would you risk drawing attention to yourself and your family situation by continuing to show up at your treatment center, because the penalty of being discovered is the separation of family and the destruction of a supportive community? Avoided care results in greater morbidity and mortality. It also results in more emergency visits, which are more costly both to the system and to the patient, and less effective than earlier treatment.”

“I’m a clinician -- I am not a police officer, immigration official, judge, or jury,” Dr. Madaras concluded. “The recent rhetoric and the anticipated related immigration actions interfere with my ability to do the job I am tasked to do both professionally and morally: caring for those who need help.”



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