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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

LOU "I LOVE LEGAL IMMIGRATION" DOBBS GOES AFTER FOREIGN NURSES

Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average.

Lou Dobbs loves to tell people he's not anti-immigrant - he just is against illegal immigration. Follow the rules, and he's just fine with people coming to America.

Uh huh. Remember the brouhaha last year when Lou Dobbs had an on air freak out over a report I authored showing more than 100 negative reports on legal immigration on his show over the last five years?

Dobbs claimed the stories were mostly about abuses in the legal immigration programs and he didn't have a problem with the programs themselves.

But that's clearly nonsense. Read the transcripts, all of which I linked in the report. And last night, Dobbs had a typical anti-immigration story on the green card program for foreign nurses. The contradictions are interesting. First, the reporter, Ines Ferre, insinuates that nurses are cheap labor for hospitals.

FERRE: And The Nursing Association says that foreign nurses are often at the low end of the pay scale...


The reporter doesn't actually provide any evidence to back this up and prevailing wages for nurses are actually pretty steep. Furthermore, a lot of the nurses are going to unionized hospitals and salaries paid to foreign nurses can't be less than the amounts negotiated in collective bargaining agreements. There is NO credible evidence that foreign nurses are being underpaid compared to their American counterparts and CNN should issue a correction.

Furthermore, American hospitals almost always find the nurses through contractors and placement firms because we lack a temporary visa for nurses and almost all recruiting happens overseas, something that the typical hospital can't manage. The hospitals pay substantial fees to those recruiting firms and this consequently makes the foreign nurses considerably MORE expensive than if an American nurse were hired.

American hospitals also frequently have staffing ratios requiring a minimum number of nurses for a specific patient population. Hospitals can't keep their doors open if they don't hit those numbers. So they are willing to pay huge premiums for nurses to ensure patients receive the treatment they need. Believe me, if the American health care employer community could get more nurses graduating from US nursing schools, they would.

And it's funny that the nursing organizations would be weighing in on this.I wonder who benefits when we lack the resources to train enough American nurses, when we bar foreign nurses from coming in to the country and when we set minimum staffing ratios requiring more nurses to be hired? Dobbs' folks  actually answer this question:

The average nursing salary is about $61,000 a year, a salary that plenty of Americans, Lou, would love to have.


Gee, do you think nursing organizations pushing policies that exacerbate a severe shortage of nurses might actually drive up salaries for their members to an amount that is more than 50% greater than the average American? You betcha. Who cares if they put the lives of American patients in jeopardy?

Dobbs' contradictions show up again just a few seconds later:

Yes and I think we have to be very, very straightforward here. The
reason those foreign nurses are being brought in is not simply a
shortage of American nurses. It is because we have not provided the
resources to train those nurses. It is because hospitals and those
hospital-owned, the companies that own those hospitals are bringing in
the cheapest labor possible. They are trying to avoid paying that
salary. It's the same reason that's behind the -- all of the visa
workers coming into this country. And people should be very honest
about that. This president knows that and it's got to be stopped as a
matter of public policy.

FERRE: And one of the facts was
that you know these faculty members are often -- they often earn less
than a registered nurse practicing, so oftentimes they'll want --
they'd like to be teaching, but they are out there because they are
earning more money. Yes, one of the things is that in the budget, the
2010 budget plan, there's $330 million for addressing this nursing
shortage. The Nursing Institute says that that's great, but we need
more.


First, he CORRECTLY states that a key reason we have too few nurses is because there are not enough spaces available in nurse training programs. Of course, in the very next sentence he says its greedy hospitals who want to underpay foreign nurses that are the problem. Which is it? And if it is the latter, then why is it that hospitals are the ones putting millions in to nurse training programs and pushing the hardest to try and find public resources to help underwrite those programs as well.

And then the reporter contradicts Dobbs again by stating that the reason there are not enough faculty members is because the teachers can earn more money elsewhere. Where is elsewhere? In hospitals, of course. But aren't those the hospitals that are supposedly underpaying nurses?

So let's review what Dobbs is contending -

1. Hospitals want cheap labor so they are paying foreign nurses too little.
2. Nursing positions pay great so we should try and get more Americans in to those jobs.
3. More Americans would go in to nursing but hospitals are trying to avoid paying decent salaries.
4. Nurses are paid an average $61,000 per year, a salary "plenty of Americans would love to have."
5. Nurses won't take faculty position jobs because they can earn much more if they practice nursing at a hospital.

One final fact Dobbs forgets to mention. There is a worldwide nursing shortage and nurses are being recruited in Europe, Australia, the Middle East, you name it. And they can make a very respectable salary in all of those places. They are not going to come to the US to take a salary that is uncompetitive.

Now you know why actually analyzing a Dobbs transcript can make your head spin.

Submit "LOU Submit "LOU Submit "LOU Submit "LOU Submit "LOU Submit "LOU Submit "LOU

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Comments

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  1. doc-waiting's Avatar
    Hi Greg,

    Any chance for Conrad this year? I heard there was a bill to exempt docs that serve in under served areas from quotas. Is it going anywhere?

  2. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    I'm actually working hard on that bill and am hoping for some news to report soon.
  3. t-cell's Avatar
    They are trying to mis-lead the public. I have seen those same very flawed arguments before. It's always the same and they always can't prove what they are saying and relying solely on scare tactics. Propaganda, at it's best.

    Everyone should also be aware by now that some groups or organizations are trying hard to artificially keep the nursing shortage at status quo. For what reasons? I think Mr. George Chell hit it right in the head from his previous comments.

    A campaign should also be launched to tell the public the real situation to counter all this propaganda. This was one of those lacking from last year's version. It is the public, particularly the seniors who will suffer from the nursing shortage anyway and so they should be aware of the REAL situation.

    Th public should also know that producing home-grown nurses is estimated to take at least 10 years.

    It's a falacy that since the there is a 2 year associate degree program for nurses means that it only takes that short of a time to produce more nurses that will dent the shortage.

    Remember, one of their arguments is that there is not enough nursing faculty that is why there is a bottle-neck.

    Before students can be attracted from High School and go to these 2 year associate degree year programs or 4 year bachelor's degree programs, they should be attracting more faculty first. What not everyone is aware of, to be a nurse faculty, one needs to take a Masteral degree in nursing first. And how long is that? Another 18-24 months? And only those already holding a Bachelors' degree in nursing and with some years experience as well can be qualified to take Masteral. Those only holding 2 year associate degrees will take longer to have their Masterals since they need to have BSN units first as well. Probably add another 1-2 years for that. And since there are few nursing faculties to begin with, it will take several batches or cycles of nursing faculties teaching new batches of BSN holders their Masterals.

    By that time, it will also be harder to attract H.S. students to go to nursing again as the economy will probably be a bull economy again by then. The only reason they can make the argument that many are now willing to take up nursing is because of the deep recession. Once the recession is over, probably by 2010, the attraction to nursing will lessen again.

    It will indeed take AT LEAST 10 years.
  4. JC's Avatar
    I know the topic of your article was the Nurses portion of Lou's ridiculous rant, but your piece is incomplete without mentioning his statement near the end of: "They are trying to avoid paying that salary. It's the same reason that's behind the -- all of the visa workers coming into this country. And people should be very honest about that."

    I am an H1 holder and can assure Mr. Dobbs that my company pays me well above the prevailing wage for my occupation - and I am not the exception. That statement alone is sufficient to discredit him completly, even without having to go into your great detailed analysis.

    It is sad that many journalists, like Mr. Dobbs, forget that the constitutional protections afforded to members of his field also carry important responsibilities that must be taken seriously. It is amazing that all of us aspiring immigrants, who continue to get painted with a negative brush, realize this and Mr. Dobbs does not.

    JC
  5. George Chell's Avatar
    "1. Hospitals want cheap labor so they are paying foreign nurses too little.
    2. Nursing positions pay great so we should try and get more Americans in to those jobs.
    3. More Americans would go in to nursing but hospitals are trying to avoid paying decent salaries.
    4. Nurses are paid an average $61,000 per year, a salary "plenty of Americans would love to have."
    5. Nurses won't take faculty position jobs because they can earn much more if they practice nursing at a hospital. "

    Comment: May be Lou wants all the seniors dead..which is precisely what will happen as health care costs increase if we continue to pay higher wages to alleviate the shortage. Lou has loads of money to pay for the high cost of medical care. Rest of us dont. May be if Lou is willing to subsidize our medical bills we should listen to him.

  6. Another voice's Avatar
    The worst part is that his sound bite followers lack analytical skills that may open their mind a little... it's a lost case he will continue to spread lies and hate!!!
  7. George Chell's Avatar
    I thought the goal of the Obama Administration is to lower health care costs. Right? Lou Dobbs's emphasis on paying even higher salaries to nurses..(I believe back in 2004 or 2003 he said that medical personnel salaries need to be doubled to work in underserved areas..dont have the transcripts with me though) would lead to even higher health care costs perhaps approaching 30% of GDP. I dont think that is Obama's goal. We need a flood of nurses..a surplus..like we have a surplus of investment bankers at present. Perhaps the folks from programmer's guild should retrain to become nurses.
  8. George Chell's Avatar
    Conrad 30 was extended for a week..perhaps will be extended until September 30. This is not a way to run a doctor migration program. Putting bandaid everytime.
  9. Christopher Teras's Avatar
    Lou Dobbs, Center for Immgigration Studies--same thing. someone please inform me immediately when either one has even one good word to say about foreign national workers. No worries--I will not be holding my breath. I thought only Fox News openly subscribes to right wing news bias, while CNN claims to offer balanced reporting. Who at CNN balances Dobbs' obvious anti-foreigner biases? Greg, you exposed Dobbs and CNN on this one last year. Why hasn't CNN corrected the imbalance?
  10. George Chell's Avatar
    "Lou Dobbs, Center for Immgigration Studies--same thing. someone please inform me immediately when either one has even one good word to say about foreign national workers. No worries--I will not be holding my breath. I thought only Fox News openly subscribes to right wing news bias, while CNN claims to offer balanced reporting. Who at CNN balances Dobbs' obvious anti-foreigner biases? Greg, you exposed Dobbs and CNN on this one last year. Why hasn't CNN corrected the imbalance?"

    There are racism elements in CNN as there are racist elements in CNBC. Dobbs covers up his bigotry better than CIS. Dobbs at least gives lip service to fighting for American workers through his opposition to outsourcing, however misguided that may be, whereas CIS only cares about foreign looking folks moving into the US and does not give a hoot about jobs migrating abroad. Dobbs is like many Texans I have run into.

  11. AD's Avatar
    Greg,

    Discussion about Lou Doggs is not worth our time.

    Lets hit the ignore button. I already did that.

    The more we talk about him, the more his ratings are and the more he is valuable to CNN.

    Its the ratings stupid. Just one more incendiary, If I may borrow a word from Mr Steele. B T W, I will refuse to apologize for saying that.
  12. Legal and no longer waiting's Avatar
    Of course, coming to this country with $5 in a pocket, no real skills and no job, and thus having to start from the bottom to work your way up - that's the right way [mostly because you can't comdemn what your grandpa did]. Yet, coming with skills that are needed, a job lined up, and income of ~1.5 of average American, that's of course wrong because that's the "cheapest labor out there". He should be eveluated for schizophrenia. Hopefully, by a foreign doctor ;-)
  13. No2H1B's Avatar
    Funny, all the H-1B fanboys want a web developer like me to become a nurse and get out of I.T.

    This is what one H-1B had to say to me on a forum:

    "I'll make it simple for you. We are not going anywhere. We are here to stay, and take your jobs. If you can code, you stay. If you can't, you either go bankrupt, or train to be a nurse. Get it?"

    And I can code just fine, I just demand a good rate for my skills. And I am not about to start changing bedpans because a bunch of guest workers want my job.

    Lou is spot on.
  14. AD's Avatar
    Yeah right.

    Tunnel Rat and MCSE.. Great fit

    Now take your sorry a$$ some where else. I thought you were not welcome around here. Shameless rat just like Lou
  15. George Chell's Avatar
    "And I can code just fine, I just demand a good rate for my skills. And I am not about to start changing bedpans because a bunch of guest workers want my job."

    You are one hell of a deluded individual along with Lou Dobbs! Good you now agree with him. It is interesting you dont agree with his outcry against outsourcing. No one is going to send the job abroad, you claim. You are more deluded than Lou Dobbs> Stay. No one is going to give you a jon at the rate you demand if you are not the best qualified. And based on your arguments, I doubt you are the best qualified.
  16. Legal and no longer waiting's Avatar
    "And I can code just fine, I just demand a good rate for my skills."

    Yes, the entitlement approach. Let us know how it's working out for you.
  17. George Chell's Avatar
    "Yes, the entitlement approach. Let us know how it's working out for you."

    A lot of Americans like to attack affirmative action. Kindly tell me in what way is this different from affirmative action based on nationality? If there should be no AA based on race or gender, there should be no AA based on nationality. Some people always insist that unless someone is blonde and blue eyed they have to be less qualified. Unfortunately at least one Indian American has joined this charade..his name is Ron Hira, and he is at the Rochester Institute of Technology. He has no understanding of the concept of globalization.
  18. USC's Avatar
    I hesitate to comment as I haven't been able to follow the blogs/posts in detail as I have been busy catching up with work (Greg, I still owe you the email and while the information you wanted to share may be stale I will shoot you an email so that you do have my email for the future).

    However, my personal experience and my close friendship with 80% of Indian doctors on Long Island cause me to believe that the US Immigration law should not have a separate category for nurses (on visits to India I have been asked by individuals who have no interest in nursing that if they would qualify for a GC if they joined a nursing school) so that only individuals who are dedicated professionals are eligible to get a GC. Additional numbers should be provided for EB3/H1b and nurses should be eligible for EB3/H1b.

    We do have a health care crisis but it will not be resolved by importing individuals whose interest is not in nursing but in a GC.
  19. D's Avatar
    "And I can code just fine, I just demand a good rate for my skills. And I am not about to start changing bedpans because a bunch of guest workers want my job."

    You dont change, you go extinct.... Whether you like it or not ....
  20. George Chell's Avatar
    "We do have a health care crisis but it will not be resolved by importing individuals whose interest is not in nursing but in a GC."

    Most people's interest in GC. I have heard many Indians tell me that they are returning after four years. Very few return and many who re-emerge in places like Singapore or UAE.

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