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Yale Study: Trump Immigration Policies Affected Health Of Muslim Americans

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Researchers from the Yale School of Public Health said former President Donald Trump’s so-called Muslim ban had an unexpected effect on Muslim Americans’ health.

Trump banned citizens of predominantly Muslim countries from traveling to the U.S. in 2017. The ban separated families and left people stranded in airports — and it may have led to more medical emergencies among Muslims already living in America.

Professor Gregg Gonsalves and his team looked at a hospital system in Minnesota. It serves a large Muslim population from Somalia, one of the countries on the list.

“There was an increase in missed primary-care appointments, your regular visits to the doctor, an increase in emergency department visits among people from Muslim majority countries living in Minneapolis-St. Paul,” Gonsalves said.

That suggests people were avoiding the doctor until emergencies, and it goes along with studies showing more Muslim Americans are being diagnosed with stress-related conditions. Gonsalves said it shows how immigration policies — especially those motivated by fear — can have unintended consequences.

“For all the terrible things about the Muslim ban in and of itself, it also had downstream health effects that affected an entire city’s population of Muslim Americans,” Gonsalves said.

President Biden ended the ban on his first day in office. But Gonsalves said there still need to be more studies into the health of immigrants in the U.S.

“There’s been a lot of Asian-American discrimination in the past year around the coronavirus pandemic. I can probably hazard a guess that if we look to see if there’s been an effect of the cumulative stress on these populations we might find some impact there,” Gonsalves said.

Gonsalves worked on the study with researchers from the Yale Schools of Medicine and Public Health and with hospitals across the country.