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Chris Musillo on Nurse and Allied Health Immigration

Why the Pessimism on CIR May Be Misplaced

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This week President Obama is expected to sign the long-delayed Healthcare bill, thus ending one the longer American legislative dramas in recent history. Pundits have long-suspected that immigration reform would be the next domestic issue on President Obama's list, although most expected that the President could get Healthcare and Comprehensive Immigration Reform tackled in his first year. This weekend tens of thousands turned up in Washington to kickoff the rally for CIR.

For readers of this Blog, CIR is only critical insofar as CIR includes liberalized visa quotas and procedures for healthcare occupations that have long been in short American supply - nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, etc. and are expected to be in short supply in the upcoming decade.

Legislators have been hesitant to pass piecemeal legislation at targeted immigration issues. The idea has been to force all immigration issues into one comprehensive bill. This strategy was unsuccessful in 2006-7.

Because of the failure of the 2006-7 effort, pundits are skeptical that any CIR bill will be finished before this November's mid-term election. The problem with that pessimism is that it fails to consider that all legislation is a long haul. For instance, the Healthcare bill has been declared dead more times than a horror movie villain, and yet it lives!

It helps nobody to be needlessly optimistic or pessimistic on CIR. The reality is that with hard work CIR can be passed and with targeted advocacy healthcare occupations can be part of the discussion. Have you called your Congressman?

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  1. Adi's Avatar
    Healthcare had promise of President backing with full force. On immigration he has done nothing more than lip service (that too, one with less than 140 words, twitter age people). Hence the pessimism.
  2. stonescotch's Avatar
    People who believe that Immigration reform is next are WRONG. Nex is Financial reform after that energy reform.
  3. Thomas Philip's Avatar
    CIR is not like health care , CTR is making illegals to legal.The days are changed even a honest American is finding to get a goodjob .CIR will not help nurses it is a fact.This is election time ,who will tie the bell to the cat? not the Democrats you can bet on that.
  4. Chris Musillo's Avatar
    @Adi- Pres. Obama did release a video over the weekend in which he spoke about CIR. He has also met with Sens. Schumer and Graham. So I think it is more than lip service. I will agree with you on this -- CIR has been behind: economy, jobs, Healthcare, and maybe education.
  5. Chris Musillo's Avatar
    @Stones: You MAY be right. You definitely WILL be right if no one calls their Congressman and advocates on CIR.
  6. Chris Musillo's Avatar
    @Thomas Philip - I disagree entirely. The CIR bill floated by Rep. Gutierrez provides for nurses. See:
  7. Jim's Avatar

    Any chance that an amendment be offered in the Reconciliation package for an emergency nursing relief act?

  8. Chris Musillo's Avatar
    @Jim- None unfortunately.
  9. Rajani's Avatar
    @ Chris

    When do you anticipate a real shortage of RNs in USA which will force the Congress/Politicians to act? Do you think otherwise that US can go ahead without foreign RNs
  10. Jim's Avatar
    New projections for the nursing shortage.

    Nationwide 150,000 shortage NOW, and growing up to *800,000* in 10 years (2020).

    Bulk of the nursing shortage would be in CA where the current 20,000 shortage could grow to up to 50-80k in 5 years (2015).

    This that not account the extra 32 million more insured people by 2014 when the full benefits of HCR kicks in.

    Obviously educating more domestic nurses is not keeping up with demand and remember the average time that new nurses quit is about 3-5 years. Add that to those finally retiring within the next 1-2 years after they are able to jack up their pensions and 401(k). The US stock market is recovering steadily.

    Who's scared !?
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