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Immigration Law

Flatlining Care: Why Immigrants Are Crucial to Bolstering Our Health Care Workforce (Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing)

Senate Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, and Border Safety, Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Testimony of Sarah K. Peterson: "... While this hearing is before the Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, and Border Safety, I would submit to you that this hearing is not about immigration. The problem we are trying to solve is not one of immigration; it is instead an effort to solve the growing crisis of access to the most basic level of medical care in the United States, for all Americans. This hearing is about the way targeted, sensible immigration reform provisions can ensure access to desperately needed physicians and nurses in the United States, particularly in rural and underserved urban communities. ..."

Testimony of Dr. Ram Alur: "... For many physicians like me, the prospect of coming to the U.S. and enduring the long wait for a green card while working and raising a family is not practical. According to the Cato Institute, there are more than 1 million petitions for working immigrants and their families approved and they are waiting for their green cards.iv Cato estimates that more than 200,000 Indians who have petitions approved could die of old age before they receive permanent legal status. This personally affects me in that my adolescent daughter, who has lived here since six months of age, will age out of status in six years if I do not become a permanent resident. ... Given the massive shortfall of doctors that is going to get worse in the next several years, Congress should be pursuing a wide variety of solutions. This includes expanding medical school slots and making it possible for more Americans to pursue a career as a physician. It also includes funding more residency slots to make room for those new doctors. Finally, it requires reforming immigration laws to strengthen our workforce with highly qualified international physicians. This is needed because it can take up to 15 years before a physician is educated and trained and can actually begin treating patients. Immigration changes can help bridge this long gap. ..."