MMS Statement on DACA-Eligible Physicians and Students

Henry L. Dorkin, MD, FAAP, President of the Massachusetts Medical Society, released the following statement:

“The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program provides important protection and stability for hundreds of thousands of young people brought as infants and young children to the United States by their families (in the absence of legal immigration status). These young people are now faced with the prospect of being deported to countries with which they have only limited and tenuous connection. The Massachusetts Medical Society strongly supports DACA and urges Congress to pass a permanent solution on lawful immigration status for DACA recipients.

“Specifically to the mission of the MMS, this issue is of great importance for the medical students, residents and fellows who are currently studying or practicing in Massachusetts under DACA protections.  With DACA protections rescinded, these medical professionals must live with uncertainty about their future status in this country. They are wondering whether they will be able to stay here to fulfill their medical education and dreams of contributing to the health care of our country’s citizens. At a time when there is a shortage of physicians, these young and future doctors could improve the lives of countless patients here in the U.S. throughout their careers.

“Nationally, the American Association of Medical Colleges states that in 2016, 112 students with DACA status applied to US allopathic medical schools and 34 of those individuals matriculated, bringing total allopathic medical school enrollment of DACA eligible individuals to approximately 70 students.  According to one recent study, maintaining the DACA initiative could introduce more than 5,400 previously ineligible physicians into the U.S. healthcare system in the coming decade.

“The MMS strongly supports all medical students, residents and physicians with DACA status. We know that these physicians and physicians-in-training are a critical component of our medical teams and contribute to a much-needed diverse and culturally responsive physician workforce, which benefits our patients and our profession.

“We strongly oppose ending this important program.”

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