Doctors Without Borders Aren’t Always a Healthy Thing
Brushing aside claims that a Pakistani doctor in Minnesota suffered from “mental illness and multiple stressors” a federal judge sentenced Muhammad Masood to 18 years in prison for attempting to provide material support to a terrorist organization.
FAIR reported in 2020 that Masood, employed on an H-1B visa, said he was “sick” of living in the United States and wrote about carrying out “lon wulf” (sic) terrorist attacks here. Disgusted by what he called the “passing kuffar,” a derogatory term for non-Muslims, the Pakistani complained, “I cannot tolerate it anymore.” “I want to kill and get killed … and kill and get killed … and again and again. This is what … Allah wished,” Masood wrote.
Although Pakistan was considered a “high threat” country when he entered the U.S. in 2018, Masood landed a job as a research coordinator at the prestigious Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. Nonprofit and governmental research organizations can be exempt from H-1B caps when hiring foreign medical professionals.
Despite the liberal exemptions and, in Masood’s case, security concerns, a clamor continues for evermore healthcare workers from overseas. The American Immigration Council (AIC) says immigrants already “punch above their weight [by] representing a larger share of workers in healthcare roles like physicians, surgeons, dental hygienists and respiratory therapists than their share of the population.”
AIC applauded Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker for signing bills this month to remove “barriers to licensing” for internationally trained physicians. One bill opens a permanent alternative pathway to full licensure for international medical graduates, while the other creates a position within the state government to help individuals navigate the licensing process.
What could possibly go wrong?
Though there are documented shortages of physicians in some sectors, the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) reported recently that 1,431 U.S. medical school graduates (7.2 percent of applicants) were rejected by residency programs at teaching hospitals this past spring. More than 4,000 foreign-trained doctors took those positions, and then some.
Kevin Lynn, executive director of Progressives for Immigration Reform, told CIS that the displacement of American medical talent is a case of prioritizing profits over patient health. “Hospitals know that doctors from abroad are cheaper and more exploitable,” he says.
The Masood mess illustrates how expansive, loosely policed guest worker programs can pose a threat to national security (who knows how many Chinese spies with H-1B or other visas are stealing trade and national security secrets, for example) while also undermining the interests of American workers and discouraging others from going into the fields.