April 25, 2017, Vol 317, No. 16, Pages 1595-1700
Presidential Immigration Policies – Endangering Health and Well-being?
Lawrence O. Gostin, JD; Katharina Eva Ó Cathaoir, PhD
President Trump has issued executive orders transforming US immigration policy, potentially harming patient health and well-being. Are the president’s orders lawful and ethical, and what are the effects on the health system?
The president has authorized construction of a barrier along the 2000-mile US-Mexico border, but Congress must first appropriate $12.6 billion to $21.6 billion. The executive order envisions Mexico paying for the barrier by reducing foreign assistance or imposing a 20% import tax. The latter is incompatible with international trade rules proscribing discrimination among trading partners. The federal government has constitutional power to appropriate private property with just compensation, but litigation from landowners and Native American tribes will incur major delays.