Some of the most influential medical and physician organizations in the country are urging the Supreme Court to reinstate an injunction on the Trump administration's travel ban.
The 35 organizations, led by the Association of American Medical Colleges and including the American Medical Association, the American Nurses Association and the American Academy of Family Physicians, filed an amicus curiae brief (PDF) in the case, arguing that the healthcare workforce relies on immigrants.
"Health professionals and scientists who come to the United States care for patients, advance the discovery of treatments and improve the overall quality of healthcare," the groups wrote. "They fill gaps in the nation's health professional workforce, including at VA hospitals and in rural and other underserved communities."
The Trump administration's executive order bars most people from Chad, Iran, Somalia, Libya, Syria and Yemen from entering the United States. The order has been challenged by multiple states and human rights groups, who say it's intentionally discriminatory against Muslims. The Supreme Court announced in January that it would take up the case, Reuters reported.
Healthcare industry groups have played an active role in the debate around the White House's immigration plans, including pushing Congress to act quickly on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The Supreme Court declined to issue an expedited ruling on DACA in February, and the recently passed omnibus spending bill did not address the program.
Amid the uncertainty about the future of immigration policy, there has been evidence of fewer international doctors seeking jobs in the United States. Immigrant nurses could also fill crucial healthcare gaps, but they may struggle to acquire visas.
In addition to having a pool of talented clinicians and other healthcare workers to address gaps, particularly in rural areas, collaboration with foreign healthcare professionals furthers research and improves health security, the groups wrote in the brief.
"Excluding talented physicians and scientists based solely on their nationality jeopardizes patient care and medical discoveries and compromises the health security of the nation, " AAMC President Darrell Kirch, M.D., said in a statement.