The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground. —THOMAS JEFFERSON, 1788

States move to abolish citizenship requirements for healthcare workers

States move to abolish citizenship requirements for healthcare workers

The Washington Post advocates getting rid of citizenship requirements for practicing medicine and being a health care worker. That probably makes sense for legal aliens (like non-citizens in the country legally on temporary visas), but not for illegal aliens (since that would encourage illegal immigration). What do you think?

Here’s an excerpt from The Post’s editorial today:

Job vacancies are bedeviling countless industries, not least health care, where employers are at wits’ end trying to fill nursing and other critical jobs. State lawmakers can help alleviate that problem by waiving citizenship as a requirement for licensure, a needless encumbrance. Yet even as hospitals and other facilities plead for relief, they face an uphill battle in many states….a dozen states have relaxed some requirements pertaining to immigration status to obtain professional licenses in certain fields, and five others — California, Colorado, Illinois, Nevada and New Jersey — have provided full access to licensed professions for all undocumented immigrants.

Now Maryland is on the cusp of a similar move for health-care jobs. And for good reason….Two years into the pandemic, the state’s hospitals and other health-care providers are hurting. At the start of the year, more than a quarter of more than 25,000 full-time-equivalent registered nursing positions in Maryland hospitals were vacant, according to the Maryland Hospital Association. The trendline suggested worse to come.

One obvious, readily available measure is to lower barriers for entering the workforce without sacrificing an iota of qualifications and training. Undocumented immigrants who pass required screening, training and certification, and meet all other standards, can do nursing and other jobs, and they are eager for them. But without state legislation, federal law blocks them from getting licensed.

In Annapolis, two Democratic legislators, state Sen. Cheryl C. Kagan of Montgomery County and Del. Joseline A. Peña-Melnyk of Prince George’s County, have advanced measures that would allow licensing for people who meet relevant educational and professional requirements, regardless of immigration status. In the Senate, the bill has been trimmed to apply only to health-care professions….Unsurprisingly, the legislation is backed by state hospitals and other health-care employers. If passed, it would make a needed dent in their labor shortages.

LU Staff

LU Staff

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