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AAP Statement on Revised Immigrant and Refugee Travel Ban Executive Order

3/6/2017
by: Fernando Stein, MD, FAAP, President, American Academy of Pediatrics

"Recent Executive Orders issued by the White House have already had wide-reaching and devastating consequences for immigrant and refugee children and families, and today’s action is no different. While the Executive Order issued today revises and narrows in scope the version previously opposed by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), we remain concerned of the harm its implementation will have on immigrant and refugee children and families.

“Children do not decide where they or their parents were born. They do not choose whether or how to travel to the United States. We owe it to these children to protect them. Far from doing so, this Executive Order temporarily bans refugees—including children and families who are fleeing persecution, war, or violence—from entering the United States and appears to open the door for individual states to refuse to resettle them.

“The Order also impacts our colleagues in medicine, as international medical school graduates and pediatric researchers will continue to be among the foreign nationals and refugees impacted by the travel ban. Leaving it to the discretion of Customs and Border Protection to decide whether to grant entry on a case-by-case basis will prevent these professionals from traveling or training here. This means that vulnerable children, particularly in rural and underserved areas of the United States, will be unable to access care provided by some of the brightest minds in medicine.

“Pediatricians remain concerned by the toll that these discriminatory, harmful Executive Orders and actions are taking on the health and well-being of immigrant and refugee children. The pervasive fear, anxiety and trauma felt by immigrant communities will impact these children for years to come. We can and must do better as a nation. Pediatricians urge elected officials at the highest levels of federal government to view immigrant children not as societal threats or political pawns, but as the foundation of our future.”

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The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 66,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org and follow us on Twitter @AmerAcadPeds

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