Approximately 250 Boston Medical Center employees are protesting a scheduled visit by Melania Trump on Wednesday over fears that her presence will dissuade vulnerable populations, like immigrants, from seeking medical care.
Trump and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar plan to visit a BMC program dedicated to treating babies who are born with opioid dependency. It’s a natural extension of Trump’s bloated Be Best initiative, which—among several other nebulous goals—tackles drug use and opioid addiction. But according to the Boston Globe, protesters worry that this photo op may make BMC appear complicit with the Trump administration’s war against immigrants.
From the Boston Globe:
“If they thought that my affiliation was with somebody who promotes such division and promotes the hatred of immigrants, I’m sure that they’re not going to be asking to come to see me to take care of them,” said Cecilia T. Girard, a nurse midwife who is an immigrant from Ecuador.
Hospital employees said their patients are bearing the brunt of immigration crackdowns, and that some are so worried about deportation that they have missed appointments.
“This is not just some theoretical thing. This is actually happening to our patients,” said Thamarah Crevecoeur, a nurse midwife whose parents are from Haiti.
Last week, hospital employees urged hospital administrators to cancel Trump’s visit. BMC president and chief executive, Kate Walsh, didn’t budge. Instead, she encouraged employees to use Trump’s visit as an opportunity to show the first lady and federal leaders like Azar first hand how important federal funding is to the vulnerable populations they serve.
Given HHS’s track record under the Trump administration, there’s little proof that that will pull on a single, solitary heartstring.
Luckily, hundreds of BMC employees are smart enough to realize this.