What Immigrant Doctors won't tell you (Trump, travel ban, Peter Ganong)

A group of university economics researchers have started a website called the "Immigrant Docs Project" at immigrantdoctors dot org. Per them:

14 million doctors' appointments are provided each year by physicians from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen - the six countries targeted by [President Donald Trump's] recent Executive Order. They are spread out across America, providing vital services throughout the Rust Belt and Appalachia, especially in Ohio, Michigan, West Virginia, Indiana and Kentucky.

There's a very important issue that the organizers don't reveal anywhere on their site. Either they're incapable of figuring it out, or they did figure it out but don't care.

Namely, the seven countries included in Donald Trump's travel bans are in dire need of doctors and quality medical care, much more than the USA. As reality shows, there isn't an endless number of doctors; it's a finite set. That means that whenever a doctor moves to the U.S. from a foreign country, we gain a doctor and that foreign country loses a doctor.

By wanting to increase the flow of doctors from the countries covered by Trump's bans, the "Immigrant Docs Project" is helping harm struggling countries with populations that desperately need as many doctors as they can keep.

Yet, there's nothing on their site even hinting at how doctors coming to the U.S. harms foreign countries. Either the researchers can't figure that out, or they decided that revealing that would spoil the agenda they're pushing.

In the U.S., there were 2.554 doctors for every 1000 people in 2013 [1]. Here are the figures for the countries on Trump's travel bans (as of 2014):

  • Iran: 1.491
  • Iraq: 0.854
  • Libya: 2.092
  • Somalia: 0.029
  • Sudan: 3.058
  • Syria: 1.546
  • Yemen: 0.311

The figures for Yemen and Somalia are obviously quite bad. There are around 7500 doctors in Yemen; if 100 of them move to the U.S., then there are only around 7400. That will tend to make the situation in Yemen even worse than it is, and that might lead to more regional instability and more terrorism.

There are several countries closer to the travel ban countries than the U.S. that are in as great a need of doctors as Yemen and Somalia. For instance:

  • Mauritania: 0.127 (2009)
  • Senegal: 0.061 (2008)
  • Guinea: 0.097 (2005)
  • Sierra Leone: 0.024 (2004)
  • Liberia: 0.014 (2008)

The number of doctors in Liberia could fit on a bus, a subway car, or a small conference room. If there weren't so few doctors in West Africa, they might have been able to contain the recent Ebola outbreak, and they'll be needed to contain future outbreaks. Not to mention all the other benefits.

Obviously, the U.S. needs doctors, we need more of them, and we need more of them in blue counties rather than doing nose jobs in Beverly Hills. However, the even greater need for doctors in the Middle East and Africa isn't on the Immigrant Doctors Project radar. See skilled immigration for past discussion of this issue.

Those who couldn't figure that out or who decided not to disclose it to you are:

  • Peter Ganong (Economics Asst Professor, University of Chicago, @p_ganong)
  • Mitra Akhtari (Ph.D. Candidate in Economics, Harvard University, @mitra_akh)
  • Matthew Basilico (Ph.D. Candidate in Economics, Harvard, @mattbasilico)
  • Valentin Bolotnyy (Ph.D. Candidate in Economics, Harvard, @vbolotnyy)
  • Otis Reid (PhD Candidate in economics, MIT, @otis_reid)
  • Heather Sarsons (Ph.D. Candidate in Economics, Harvard, @saskatchewin)
  • Michael Stepner (PhD Candidate in economics, MIT, @michaelstepner)
  • Jonathan Roth (Ph.D. Candidate in Economics, Harvard, @jondr44)
  • John Coglianese (Ph.D. Candidate in Political Economy and Government, Harvard)
  • Adrienne Sabety (Ph.D. Candidate in Health Policy, Harvard)

Please tweet @immigrantdocs & those listed above and ask them which it is: can't they figure out how they'd harm developing countries, or is it that they don't care? Please tweet the same to anyone who covers their effort without revealing the inhumane downside of their agenda.

Others posting about the study include Alvin Chang, Anna Almendrala, and Anna Maria Barry-Jester. Their contact information is at each link.

Christy Colburn - "Associate Director of Harvard's Global Health & Health Policy Undergraduate Program" - tweets [2]:

Great website from our grad students at Harvard & MIT. Patients are the ones hurt by the #ImmigrantBan. Please RT.

Please tweet her too at @christy_colburn.
[1] who . int/gho/health_workforce/physicians_density/en/