ADEA Washington Update

Academic Dentistry, Immigration and the Courts

(Amicus Brief, Federal Court, Graduate Students, Higher Education) Permanent link   All Posts

The first executive order on immigration by President Donald Trump came on Jan. 27, 2017. This order, also known as the “travel ban,” suspended travel from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen for 90 days, blocked refugees for 120 days and suspended travel from Syria indefinitely. Since then, two more versions of the travel ban have seen litigation at the lower court level; appeals of those revised bans came before two appeals courts and, just recently, oral arguments were made before the Supreme Court on the third version of the travel ban.

The latest ban, announced through a Sept. 24 proclamation, targeted eight countries—Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen and Somalia—and suspended refugee admissions. Chad has since been dropped from the list of restricted countries after the Administration said it had improved its information-sharing practices related to vetting. Based solely on the oral arguments, it appears this latest travel ban may be upheld by the court. The justices seemed unconvinced by the State of Hawaii’s assertion that President Trump overstepped his statutory immigration powers.

On April 24, U.S. District Judge John D. Bates ruled that the Trump Administration’s plans to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was unlawful and must be set aside. This ruling would require the Administration to accept new DACA applicants; however, the judge allowed the U.S. Department of Homeland Security 90 days to explain in detail why it believes that DACA is unlawful.

On May 1, seven states sued the Trump Administration in an effort to end the DACA program, saying the executive order creating the program was an overreach by former President Barack Obama. The states filed their suit in the Southern District of Texas, which lies in the Fifth Circuit. According to that circuit court, DACA is an unlawful overreach by the executive branch, citing the court’s Nov. 25, 2015 decision. The lawsuit puts the Trump Administration in the unusual position of possibly having to defend a program the President has denounced.

ADEA has joined other health and higher education associations to weigh in on the travel ban and DACA. According to the Census Bureau, one in five Americans is projected to be age 65 and older by 2030; more than half of all Americans are projected to belong to a minority group (any group other than non-Hispanic White alone) by 2044; and nearly one in five of the nation’s total population is projected to be foreign born by 2060.

The demographic changes in our nation have affected the makeup of dental school classrooms, faculty and the patient population. In the past five years, the proportion of underrepresented racial and ethnic groups and the number of women represented in the dental student population has increased almost 50%. ADEA continues to track federal immigration policies and believes that diversity in the health professions and specifically in academic dentistry is important to ensure access to care and create a better educational experience for all students.

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