Recently health experts from across the nation criticized the Trump administration’s use of public health law to seal off the border from those seeking refuge. They contested this decision in a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services, stating there’s “no public health rationale for denying admission to individuals based on legal status.”
In March, when coronavirus swept across the country, Trump administration requested a public health law, on the grounds of coronavirus, that permitted for the quick removal of migrants, including children, apprehended at the border. This move raised concerns among officials compiling data who believed it to be caused by political motivations.
On Monday, over two dozen health experts working with leading medical schools, public health schools, and hospitals raised questions about the basis of those restrictions. They said, “the nation’s public health laws should not be used as a pretext for overriding humanitarian laws and treaties that provide life-saving protection to refugees searching for asylum and unaccompanied children.”
Since the coronavirus pandemic, the administration has launched a number of measures that have strictly restricted immigration and travel to the United States, including border measures and travel restrictions.
President Donald Trump has promoted the moves, calling them as essential to stop the spread of coronavirus. However, health experts argue the order invoked in March appears to be planned to halt immigration, not serve a public health objective.
Monette Zard, director of the Forced Migration and Health Program at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, said, “We, as a set of colleagues, have been feeling very uneasy on the public health basis. It does not look like a genuine response to Covid and more like immigration policy in another guise.”