Geriatric medical associations criticize 'chilling effect' of immigration executive order

Two medical associations specializing in the care of older adults are raising red flags over how President Donald Trump's recent executive order halting or curtailing immigration could impact healthcare providers.

The executive order, issued on Friday, placed a 90-day suspension on visas and travel into the United States for citizens of Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Iran, Somalia, Libya and Yemen over concerns about potential “foreign terrorist entry.”

The Gerontological Society of America, in comments published Tuesday, noted that many of its members are immigrants, and that nearly 20% of its researchers and scientists are based outside of the United States.

“We are deeply concerned about the chilling effect it will have on science,” GSA wrote. “This policy threatens the free flow of scientific information by limiting interaction among scientists.”

The American Geriatrics Society also released a statement Tuesday, stating that it “opposes discrimination against healthcare professionals or older people.” The group also criticized the potential impact the order may have on the healthcare workforce.

“The AGS values the significant contributions of health professionals from diverse backgrounds to the care of older people,” the statement reads. “For almost two decades, we have focused on helping health professionals better understand how to care for the diverse population of older adults. In addition, our international colleagues have advanced our understanding of how to care for older adults through contributions to our journals, meetings, and publications.