Alabama doctors angered they must prove they’re legal

Medical doctor

ANNISTON, Ala. (AP) – Some of Alabama’s doctors are angered about a new mandate requiring them to provide the government with proof that they are legal U.S. residents.

The Alabama Board of Medical Examiners sent out a letter May 16 to about 16,000 doctors who hold medical licenses in Alabama. The letter told them they had until the end of May to submit proof of legal residency.

The letter is the latest step in the implementation of Alabama’s 2011 immigration law, considered one of the toughest in the nation, The Anniston Star reported.

Larry Dixon, director of the Alabama Board of Medical Examiners, said the agency is getting calls from physicians — and many of them are irritated.

“We’re getting our fannies chewed about it every day,” he said.

The state’s professional association for doctors said they’d heard only a few complaints.

“It’s state law,” said Cary Kuhlmann, director of the Medical Association of the State of Alabama. “The Board of Medical Examiners is doing what the law says, and physicians are just doing what they ask.”

The law requires people to prove that they’re in the country legally in order to conduct transactions with the state. That includes getting licenses for a wide range of professions regulated by the state, from electrical contracting to nursing.

The director of the Alabama Board of Nursing said her agency has seen some pushback from nurses who don’t like the newly required immigration paperwork.

The nursing board sent out letters in April asking nurses to prove their legal residency, director Genell Lee said. Nurses have until Aug. 31 to send in their paperwork, Lee said.

The nursing board has 82,000 licensees, Lee said. Since the letter went out, she said, the board’s fax machines have been constantly busy, including on weekends, as nurses send in their paperwork.

Some applicants have refused to send in their papers, Lee said, and they haven’t been afraid to tell the board their thoughts.

“I’ve been called a communist and I’ve been told to put my request where the sun doesn’t shine,” she said.

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