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AMA Lauds SCOTUS Ruling on DACA

Analysis  |  By Jack O'Brien  
   June 18, 2020

The AMA had been opposed to the Trump administration's immigration action since 2017, according to the organization's president, Susan R. Bailey, M.D.

The American Medical Association (AMA) commended the Supreme Court for its 5-4 ruling Thursday morning that blocks the Trump administration's plan to scrap the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.  

In 2017, the Trump administration ordered an end to DACA, a program instituted by President Barack Obama to prevent the deportation of around 800,000 undocumented immigrants, some of whom illegally entered the U.S. as minors.

In recent years, the fight over the fate of the immigration program has served as a hot-button political issue in Washington, D.C., notably acting as a focal point during the federal government shutdowns at the start of 2018. 

Related: How Trump's Move to End DACA May Worsen the Doctor Shortage

According to Susan R. Bailey, M.D., president of the AMA, the organization has long been opposed to the immigration action and joined over 30 other healthcare organizations in filing an amicus brief in support of the estimated 30,000 DACA recipients who work in healthcare nationwide.

"The American Medical Association applauds today's U.S. Supreme Court decision finding that the Trump Administration's attempted rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was inadequate and invalid," Bailey said in a statement. 

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The ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak has highlighted the importance of immigrant workers who have contributed to healthcare during a time of crisis, according to Bailey.

"We are pleased that the Supreme Court has recognized that upholding a rollback of the DACA program would have reduced our nation's healthcare capacity at a time when we can ill afford it," Bailey said. "We believe that the administration's attempt to terminate the DACA program ignored these individuals' enormous contributions to our country."

Related: Immigrants Comprise More Than 18% of Healthcare Workers

The Supreme Court's ruling came a little over a month after House Democrats and Senate Republicans unveiled legislative proposals to redistribute unused green cards to immigrant physicians battling the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The AMA wasn't the only medical organization to weigh in on the high court's ruling.

Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) CEO David J. Skorton, MD issued a statement Thursday afternoon applauding the Supreme Court's decision.

"With this ruling, DACA remains intact, pending further administrative action," Skorton said. "We urge the president to leave the DACA program and associated work authorizations in place and call on Congress to enact a path to citizenship for these individuals."

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Additionally, the American College of Physicians issued a statement praising the ruling, noting that the DACA program "ensures access to proper treatment for a population that is increasingly becoming more diverse."

Editor's note: The article has been updated to include commentary from the Association of American Medical Colleges and American College of Physicians.

Jack O'Brien is the Content Team Lead and Finance Editor at HealthLeaders, an HCPro brand.

Photo credit: WASHINGTON APRIL 18: Supporters of President Obama's DAPA and DACA policies on immigration and deportation gathered at the Supreme Court during oral argument in Washington, DC on April 18, 2016. / Editorial credit: Rena Schild /

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