Comment: Healthcare Immigration Now

There is now a historic opportunity on healthcare immigration in Congress. In light of the Covid crisis, America’s healthcare infrastructure needs beefing up - both short term and long term (to administer a future vaccine to our entire population and to upgrade the US public health system). This is accepted by everyone--White House, Congress, across the political spectrum and by the general public.

Upgrading our healthcare infrastructure has three components:

  • Physical plant: This includes land and buildings for hospitals, clinics and public health facilities. This is relatively easy to do.

  • Equipment: This includes ventilators, PPE, medicines, etc. America is the second largest manufacturing economy in the world and the most ingenious manufacturing powerhouse in the world. There is no doubt that the American economy can easily produce all the equipment we need in a matter of a few months.

  • Personnel: This is the main bottleneck--it takes 5 to 10 years to train a nurse or doctor--that is time we simply do not have. Getting tens of thousands of additional medical professionals that America needs in the timeframe needed can only be done through immigraiton.

To get the nurses and doctors in required numbers through immigration would require a TEN OR TWENTY FOLD increase in healthcare immigration quotas which would be the largest percentage sectoral expansion in immigration--comparable only to the immigration of railroad workers in 1870s-1880s-1890s.

Support for healthcare immigration is bipartisan and bicameral. Immigration Daily has learnt that a massive expansion of healthcare immigration is being considered favorably in the White House. The initial movement is currently with Democrats in the House, and the most likely vehicle for it is the fifth phase of covid relief. This would be a giant victory for immigration advocates. Perhaps immigration advocates are too jaded and tired after battling fruitlessly with the Steven Millers and Kris Kobachs for too long. What is needed is a vision to see what is possible in immigration now and grab it with both hands. We encourage those who see immigration as America’s great strength to set their sights sky high on health immigration now.

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ComingsNGoings: Immigration Reading
Migranthood: Youth in a New Era of Deportation By Lauren Heidbrink Stanford University Press, 240 pp. Hardcover, 150361154X, $85.00

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