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The NMA Joins the AAMC Supreme Court Amicus Brief in Travel Ban Cases

Friday, June 16, 2017   (0 Comments)
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After Executive Order 13769 was placed on hold, the President issued Executive Order 13780 on March 6, 2017. On March 15, before the Order took effect, a district court in Hawaii issued an injunction against section 2 (suspension of entry for individuals from six countries) and section 6 (suspension of refugee program). A district court in Maryland issued an injunction against section 2 shortly thereafter.

On June 1, after the 4th Circuit court of appeals, sitting en banc, affirmed the Maryland district court’s order, the Government filed a petition for a writ of certiorari challenging the 4th Circuit decision. The Government also asked the Court to stay the district court injunctions while the case is pending.

On June 12, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), joined by 21 organizations representing a range of health professional education and practice groups (including the National Medical Association), submitted an amicus brief in opposition to the Government’s applications for a stay.

Key Message Points

  • Because the contributions of health professionals and scientists from other countries are critical to healthcare and biomedical research in the United States, the changes announced in Executive Order 13,780 jeopardize patient care, medical discoveries, and public health.
  • Non-U.S. health professionals (individuals born in a country other than the U.S.) fill gaps in our healthcare workforce, especially in medically-underserved communities.
  • The participation of non-U.S. health professionals in medical research and global health initiatives helps to prevent, prepare for, and manage an array of public health threats ranging from pandemics to cancer.
  • Teaching hospitals, which are on the front lines of patient care, biomedical research, and large-scale health threats like the Boston Marathon bombing and Ebola, rely heavily on non-U.S. physicians, scientists, and other health professionals.
  • Congress has created multiple pathways for highly-skilled and carefully-screened health professionals from other countries to provide care and undertake research to benefit the United States. As one example, since 1994, the Conrad 30 waiver program has enabled more than 15,000 non-U.S. physicians to provide care in medically-underserved communities.
  • Nationality-based exclusions and backlogged immigration processes --
    • will exacerbate the growing physician-workforce shortage;
    • could disrupt the annual Match for residencies and fellowships; and
    • will constrain medical and scientific collaboration, ultimately compromising the health security of our country.

Who joined the AAMC brief?

21 organizations (including the National Medical Association) joined the AAMC’s brief, including those representing medicine, nursing, dentistry, pharmacy, public health, and physician assistants, as well as several prominent physician specialty groups.

What is the difference between a petition for a writ of certiorari and an application for a stay?

By filing a petition for a writ of certiorari, the Government is asking the Court to exercise its discretion and review the 4th Circuit’s decision. By applying for a stay, the Government has asked the Court to allow the six-country suspension of entry and suspension of the U.S. refugee program to take effect while the Court considers the Government’s certiorari petition.

When will the Court decide the certiorari petition and stay applications?

Responses are due to the Court by June 12, at which time the docket will be complete for the Court to decide the applications for a stay and the petition for a writ of certiorari. It takes five votes to grant a stay, four votes to grant a petition for a writ of certiorari. If the Court grants the petition, it will set a schedule for briefing and argument on the merits of the case, on a timetable as yet to be determined.

For additional information and to view the brief click here.

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