Prof demands ADA bar dentists from helping ICE

  • Immigration agents often use X-rays to determine whether or not young migrants should be placed in child or adult detention facilities at the southern border.
  • A team from the Boston University School of Medicine claims this practice is “unethical” and is calling on the American Dental Association to “explicitly prohibit” dentists from helping immigration officers in this way.

A team of medical academics is demanding that immigration agents and dentists put an end to the “unethical” practice of taking dental X-rays of migrants at the southern border, whose age cannot otherwise be determined. 

Boston University School of Medicine professor Sondra Crosby penned the plea with the help of two medical students, urging the American Dental Association (ADA) to “explicitly prohibit” dentists from conducting examinations that may be used by federal immigration officers to determine the ages of persons entering the United States via its southern border.

“Health professionals should never use their training or skills to act as agents of the state"   

When it cannot be readily determined whether an individual who has been detained at the border is over the age of 18, the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) often determines whether the individual is a child or adult by using dental scans. As this method is simply a way of making a best guess rather than an identification of an exact age, the margin of error allows for children under the age of 18 to be placed in adult detention if their dental scans reflect those of an adult.

[RELATED: UC Berkeley teaches illegal aliens how to ‘fight back’ against ICE]

The academics insist that this practice is not only unreliable but also "unethical," claiming that using dental X-ray analysis in this way is “in violation of the American Dental Association Principles of Ethics, specifically the principle of nonmaleficence.”

The ADA describes this principle as “the concept that professionals have a duty to protect the patient from harm" by “keeping knowledge and skills current, knowing one's own limitations and when to refer to a specialist or other professional, and knowing when and under what circumstances delegation of patient care to auxiliaries is appropriate.”

[RELATED: Harvard 'UndocuGraduation' for illegal immigrants features previously arrested prof]

Crosby and her associates argue that “health professionals should never use their training or skills to act as agents of the state to accomplish a political agenda” and, in conclusion, demand that both ICE and ORR “immediately halt the practice of using dental radiographs for determining age,” and that the ADA “explicitly prohibit dentists from participating."

Campus Reform reached out to Crosby, the ADA, the ORR, and ICE for comment but did not receive responses in time for publication. 

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @celinedryan



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Celine Ryan
Celine Ryan | Investigative Reporter

Celine Ryan is the Investigative Reporter for Campus Reform, reporting on liberal bias and abuse on campus for Campus Reform. Celine was previously a New Hampshire California Senior Campus Correspondent for Campus Reform.

20 Articles by Celine Ryan