American anti-cancer organizations make a stand against Trump's "Muslim ban"
The American Society of Hematology, American Association for Cancer Research, Association of American Cancer Institutes, American Society for Radiation Oncology, The American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology and LUNGevity Foundation issue joint statement against Trump's "Muslim ban" (the Administration’s Executive Order on Immigration). As the world's leading organizations representing laboratory researchers, physician-scientists, clinicians, the nation’s cancer centers, and patient advocates committed to improved care for patients with cancer and blood diseases, they express their deep concern about the administration’s executive order that has denied U.S. entry to people who bring unique expertise to the practice of medicine and the conduct of cancer and biomedical research.
Statement from ASH, AACR, AACI, ASTRO, ASPHO, and LUNGevity Foundation on the Administration’s Executive Order on Immigration
Our nation depends on the contributions of the greatest minds from around the world to maintain the high quality of our biomedical research enterprise and health care services.
The benefits of scientific collaborations are amplified by our diversity. Limiting the exchange of ideas, practices, and data across cultures has the potential to significantly retard scientific progress and adversely affect public health. Any loss of researchers and physicians will render the United States less competitive over time, and our traditionally strong research institutions and the patients they serve will be negatively affected.
We remain deeply concerned that restricting travel will prohibit participation in scientific meetings, where cutting-edge science and treatment methods are often first introduced. These in-person meetings and other global exchanges are vitally important because they provide unparalleled opportunities for collaborations and information-sharing. Such scientific and medical meetings are absolutely essential to the conquest of cancer and blood diseases.
Much of the progress that has been achieved against cancer and blood diseases has been fueled by researchers from all corners of the world. For this progress to continue it is going to require an even greater commitment to collaborations among international organizations, governments, public and private institutions, and individuals dedicated to this cause.
Therefore, we respectfully call on the administration to consider the negative impact of its executive order on our nation’s ability to attract the world’s best scientific and clinical talent to participate in the fight against cancer and blood diseases, irrespective of their country of origin. This includes those immigrants who are inspired by the opportunity to bring their scientific curiosity and intellect to our country.
What is an executive order?
An executive order is an official statement from the president which tells government agencies how to use their resources. In the case of Mr Trump's "Muslim ban", the order bars citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the US for a period of 90 days.
It also suspends the United States' refugee system for a period of 120 days. Mr Trump says his "extreme vetting" system will help "keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the US".
The order itself does not name the countries whose citizens are banned from entering the US. Instead, it refers to a statute which applies to seven Muslim-majority nations. They are Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, Yemen and Iraq, with dual nationals included in the ban.
Certain visa categories, such as those for diplomats, are exempt. There have also been reports of legal US residents, known as green card holders, being turned away from US-bound flights.
US homeland security secretary John Kelly said in a statement that people from the seven countries who hold so-called green cards as lawful permanent US residents would not be blocked from returning to the United States from overseas, as some had been following the directive.
Green cards are not mentioned explicitly in the executive order. Oddly, the ban does not apply to the nationalities of those who carried out the 9/11 attacks, such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt.
How does it affect refugees?
The ban completely suspends the United States' Syrian refugee programme, which accepted 12,486 Syrians in 2016. It also gives preference to accepting Christian refugees from the Middle East over Muslim refugees. And it reduces the cap on the total number of refugees allowed to enter the US in 2017 from 110,000 to just 50,000.
Trump Immigration Ban Can Worsen U.S. Doctor Shortage
More than 8,400 doctors working in the U.S. are from two countries listed in the executive order—Syria and Iran—according to data from the American Medical Association.
Six-year-old Syrian boy with cancer may not receive essential US treatment due to Donald Trump 'Muslim ban'
Mohammad Alkhaled, a six-year-old Syrian refugee currently living in Jordan, has been diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma, a type of cancer that forms in bone or else soft tissue.
Jayne Fleming, a New York-based lawyer who works with refugees, told Reuters she was working to get the boy resettled in the United States before the ban was announced last Friday.
ihad Alkhaled, the boy’s father, made an emotional appeal to Mr Trump, asking him to either lift the ban on people from Syria and six other countries entering the US, or else make an exception for such extreme cases.
“I want to tell Donald Trump that the Syrian people have always been peaceful people,” he said.
“The whole world has abandoned the Syrian people. All I care about is my son’s treatment. I pray to God that Trump will have mercy on these children.”
He added: “If it was me, it would not matter. How long am I going to live anyway? But the children – they matter.”
Donald Trump's immigration ban could stop Syrian doctor with terminal cancer from seeing his family before he dies
Dr Morhaf Al Achkar emigrated to the US from Syria in 2006, and may have just four months left to live after being diagnosed with metastatic lung cancer.
One of the 33-year-old's dying wishes is to see family members who live abroad one last time - including brothers who live in the UK - but many of them are refugees and have now been barred from entering the US.
Mr Al Achkar has blasted Mr Trump and offered sympathy to refugees, calling the controversial policy an attack "on the most vulnerable among us".
Mr Al Achkar, a family doctor and professor at Indiana University, wrote on Facebook: "My disease is so advanced that no treatment out there will cure me or even make me live longer. Patients in my situation are given 4 to 10 months to live.
"I have metastatic cancer , I may not be here in few months, and by my family, because they are Syrians, can’t come to visit me."
"I suffer as I can’t tell if I would ever have a normal life again where I can care for others as a doctor, go to school, and teach.
"I am fearful, as I don’t know what is hidden for me beyond today."
Mr Al Achkar, an American citizen, has family who have settled in the US as refugees .
His sister, a neuroscientist and professor, and her family live in California, while his 72-year-old father, an economics professor, moved to Maryland after fleeing war-torn Aleppo.
His father "lost all his fortune" to the war that has destroyed their homeland, and now doesn't know when he will see his wife - Mr Al Achkar's stepmother - again. She has a green card and is a permanent US resident, but the ban has left her "trapped" in Saudi Arabia after travelling there for a visit.
Mr Al Achkar added: "She can't come and if he leaves he can't return."