How Trump’s Immigration Ban Impacts International Medical Students Matching for Residency

On March 15th, 2017 many medical students from around the world are anxiously waiting to learn whether they will be matched into a US residency training program. Tensions and stress are elevated due to President Trump’s recent executive order on immigration temporarily banning entry of migrants, students, and U.S legal residents from Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Syria, Libya, and Yemen.

People affected by the ban include dual citizens born in one of the seven countries who also hold citizenship in US allied countries including Canada, the U.K, and EU. Trump calls this immigration ban as “re-vetting” the individuals who acquired a valid visa or green card status.

Although the ACLU won a temporary victory in having a federal judge grant a stay for those detained, this executive order impacts all of those traveling and planning to travel in the upcoming months. Many lawyers volunteering on ground advise affected people to not leave the country or else they will face issues returning to the USA.

According to the AAMC, international medical graduates encompass 25% of practicing physicians, residents, and fellows. 51% of medical scientists are also international medical graduates. (Source)

According to the ECFMG, of the 12,790 IMGs who participated in the 2016 Match, 52% matched and many of the international medical graduates are US citizens who are studying at a medical school abroad. Of the 7,460 IMG participants who were not U.S. citizens, 3,769 (50.5%) obtained first-year positions. The number of non-U.S. citizens IMGs who obtained residency training position has been steadily increasing the last five years.

Non-US citizens applying for US residency programs are the fabric of the US healthcare system, in which many physicians practicing in the USA are immigrants. Non-US citizens who were accepted into a US residency position must acquire the J-1 visa,  which includes full-time matriculation in an approved graduate medical education training program, ability to prove strong ties to one’s home country, physical presence of being in their home country for two years (if enrolled in clinical training), and compliance with all U.S. laws and regulations pertaining to foreign nationals. Learn more about the EVSP – J1 Program here.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has been working tirelessly in protecting the rights of both the American people and those migrating to American under certain visa conditions. There have been a few cases of students being detained at the airports across the United States despite carrying valid visas.  Although on January 29th, a stay was granted for those who arrived and were detained at the airport, the immigration ban is still in effect.

Know Your Rights

If you are denied entry or detained at a port of entry by a Customs and Border Protection here’s what you should do:

Green Card Holders: Resist any demands to give up your green card. Do NOT sign Form I-407, even if they say it will make things easier.

Demand a hearing from a judge: You have the right to a hearing with an immigration judge. Do NOT relinquish this right.

Demand to Speak to an Attorney: You have the right to be represented by an attorney. Ask to speak to an attorney, and discuss details of your case with only your attorney, not CBP.

Credit to ICIRR for this valuable information.


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