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Since assuming office, President Trump has issued a series of executive orders transforming United States immigration policy. From building a border wall to banning entry to the US based on nationality, these executive orders are likely to profoundly impact health and wellbeing. Are these actions legal, ethical, and what are the likely effects on US health care?

The implications of the proposed expansion of the border wall between Mexico and the US, new rules on deportation and detention, and the proposed ban on immigration from certain Muslim-majority countries are discussed. These actions run contrary to available evidence on protecting the US from terrorism, and may violate constitutional protections and US commitments under international law. Likely health effects fostering an environment based on fear in immigrant communities and undermining recruitment of vital foreign health workers to the US. Immigrants may be discouraged from accessing benefits and services for fear of being targeted by officials, which may jeopardize both individual and public health, such as through eroding herd immunity.

Publication Citation

317 JAMA 1617-1618 (2017)