MOUNT SINAI GENERAL COUNSEL CO-AUTHORS NYT OP-ED DESCRIBING DIRE CONSEQUENCES IF THE SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS TRUMP’S DECISION TO END DACA

 

Beth Essig, Executive Vice President and General Counsel of the Mount Sinai Health System, along with other healthcare legal executives co-signed an Op-Ed published in the April 3, 2020 New York Times entitled “There’s Only One Thing Stopping Trump from Deporting Health Care Workers.”
 
The Op-Ed points out that 29,000 health care workers are recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), under which undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children can obtain authorization to work and protection from deportation. These health care workers include physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists, physician assistants, technicians, and health care aides – all of whom are needed as the nation deals with the Covid-19 pandemic.  As the Op-Ed also points out, even before the pandemic, there was a shortage of physicians, nurses, and other health care workers in the country.
 
The Trump Administration’s decision to end DACA is currently being considered by the Supreme Court and the Administration has stated that it will deport DACA recipients if the Supreme Court rules in its favor.  The Op-Ed argues that this would have dire consequences:  
Allowing DACA’s termination would undermine the extraordinary measures being applied by states, universities, hospitals and private institutions across the nation to address the critical shortage of health care workers. 
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[H]ospitals and communities have already invested in the training and education of DACA health care workers – investments that would be lost if the Supreme Court eliminates their ability to work in the United States.  These providers cannot be quickly replaced upon the announcement of an affirmative Supreme Court decision – it takes over a decade to fully train a new physician and years to train nurses and other critically needed health care workers.
As a result, the Op-Ed agrees with an amicus brief recently filed at the Supreme Court that asks the Court to take the current crisis into consideration as it considers DACA’s fate.  The Op-Ed concludes by saying:
If the Supreme Court allows the termination of DACA during this pandemic, the work of our hospitals will suffer a critical blow at exactly the moment when we can least afford it.  At a time when the importance - and scarcity – of our medical resources has never been clearer, neither our institutions nor the nation can afford a disruption to the health care work force.  We desperately need all hands on deck for this fight.
The New York Times Op-Ed is linked here.