Coronavirus Amnesty and Other Unhealthy Treatments

Exploiting America’s coronavirus epidemic, some are using the crisis to push for more immigration and a new amnesty program.

The Migration Policy Institute (MPI) says 263,000 U.S. immigrants with undergraduate degrees in health-related fields “are either relegated to low-paying jobs that require significantly less education or are out of work.“

“Along with 846,000 U.S.-born adults whose health-related college degrees are similarly underutilized — a phenomenon we have long referred to as ‘brain waste’ — these immigrants represent a potentially important source of staff for the U.S. health corps,” MPI says.

The institute reports that 1.5 million immigrants work in the U.S. health-care system as doctors, registered nurses and pharmacists. It estimates 6 million foreign-born workers toil in support of the medical sector.

However, MPI goes on to add an important caveat. The immigration advocacy group admits that the credentials of the foreign-born medical corps are often sketchy. Among them: degrees from unaccredited or unrecognized overseas schools; lack of proper licensing; “atrophied” skills; and English deficiencies. As MPI puts it: “Where immigrants received their education matters.”

While America welcomes an all-hands-on-deck approach to the COVID crisis, it’s critical to draw some boundaries.

Unhelpfully, MPI makes no distinction between legal and illegal in its phalanx of low-paid and unemployed “immigrants.” Current or prospective hiring of illegal aliens brings complications that extend beyond the immediate coronavirus siege.

Peggy Noonan, an occasionally conservative pundit, jumped the shark recently by proposing U.S. citizenship for illegal aliens who labor through the epidemic. What she fails to point out is that their labor is not entirely altruistic.

While most illegal aliens are indeed caring people, they are working at these jobs for the very obvious reason of collecting a paycheck. Moreover, it is entirely likely that if not for their illegal presence in the United States, these jobs would be filled by decent caring Americans in need of a paycheck.

Legal resident aliens with requisite job qualifications should, by all means, be afforded opportunities to fill health-care jobs. But dragooning illegal workers into those positions isn’t the answer.

This country need not depend on immigrants – present or future – to meet the demand for nurses. As FAIR pointed out this week, U.S. nursing schools turned away 75,029 qualified American applicants in 2018, primarily because of faculty shortages.

Fixing the faculty deficit and stepping up recruitment of the 846,000 U.S.-born adults already holding health-related college degrees will go a long way toward bolstering America’s medical services. Illegal aliens need not apply.

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