Republicans for Immigration Reform is the name of a new political action committee that aims to take on anti-immigrants who have dominated the GOP in recent years.
Even before it raises money and establishes target races for 2014, organizers told The Washington Post, the group will help smooth the way for wavering Republican lawmakers to vote next year for an immigration overhaul, which suddenly gained momentum last week after GOP leaders watched President Obama’s dominance among Hispanic voters help carry him to an Electoral College landslide.
Spearheading the group is Carlos Gutierrez, the Cuban American former Commerce secretary under President George W. Bush. He is joined by Washington lawyer Charlie Spies, co-founder of the pro-Mitt Romney super PAC Restore Our Future, which, illustrating the very trend that the new PAC aims to thwart, aired some tough ads during this year’s primaries accusing Romney’s rivals of supporting "amnesty" and being "too liberal on immigration."
"There’s currently only energy on the anti-immigration reform side, and we want to be able to provide some cover for Republicans that vote in support of an immigration reform approach," Spies said.
It is interesting that one of Romney’s top PAC fundraisers is behind this group even though he was on the other side on this issue just weeks ago. It shows just how dramatically the politics have changed since the election and just how scared the GOP is that the demographic realities are such that they cannot be anti-immigrant and be the party in power.
The National Foundation for American Policy has just released a report discussing the need for international health care professionals and also discusses the various obstacles these workers face. Here are their four key recommendations:
Good ideas and some are being discussed in Congress right now.
1) Expand the number of employment-based green cards so the wait times for skilled immigrants, including nurses, physicians, and physical/occupational therapists, can be measured in weeks or months, rather than in years or decades.
2) Establish a temporary visa that facilitates the entry of foreign nurses. Current temporary visas do not work for the vast majority of foreign nurses and their potential employers.
3) To aid patients in underserved areas and enable more U.S.-trained doctors to pursue specialized medical fields expand the Conrad 30 program to include many more physicians per state and in the country as a whole. Also, we should consider policies to overcome the limitations on medical residency slots in the U.S. by developing guidelines to allow foreign-trained doctors to practice in the United States if they can demonstrate a high level of expertise. Congress logically should include physicians and medical researchers in biology and chemistry in the definition of Science Technology Engineering and
Mathematics (STEM) for exemption from employment-based green card quotas in future legislation.
4) Streamline state licensing and other procedures for foreign medical personnel, including physical therapists and occupational therapists, to help with the nation’s long-term health needs.
Greg Siskind is a partner in Siskind Susser's Memphis, Tennessee, office. After graduating magna cum laude from Vanderbilt University, he received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Chicago. Mr. Siskind is a member of AILA, a board member of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, and a member of the ABA, where he serves on the LPM Publishing Board as Marketing Vice Chairman. He is the author of several books, including the J Visa Guidebook and The Lawyer's Guide to Marketing on the Internet. Mr. Siskind practices all areas of immigration law, specializing in immigration matters of the health care and technology industries. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.