US planning to give 40k unused green cards to doctors, nurses amid covid-19 pandemic

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)

The United States is planning to give 40,000 unused, previously authorized immigrant visas to doctors and nurses amid the covid-19 pandemic.

The Senate is set to introduce the bipartisan bill once the lawmakers return to the upper chamber of US Congress, Senator David Perdue announced Monday.

“The growing shortage of doctors and nurses over the past decade has been exacerbated by the covid-19 crisis,” Perdue said in a statement. “Fortunately, there are thousands of trained health professionals who want to practice in the United States. This proposal would simply reallocate a limited number of unused visas from prior years for doctors and nurses who are qualified to help in our fight against covid-19. This shortage is critical and needs immediate attention so that our healthcare facilities are not overwhelmed in this crisis.”

According to Senator Dick Durbin, the other lawmaker behind the Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act, immigrant nurses and doctors are crucial to the healthcare system particularly now that the coronavirus pandemic continues to claim more lives in the US.

“Consider this: one-sixth of our health care workforce is foreign-born. Immigrant nurses and doctors play a vital role in our health care system, and their contributions are now more crucial than ever. Where would we be in this pandemic without them? It is unacceptable that thousands of doctors currently working in the US on temporary visas are stuck in the green card backlog, putting their futures in jeopardy and limiting their ability to contribute to the fight against covid-19,” Durbin said.

Data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that the United States could see up to 3,000 deaths per day by June 1.

"This data is not reflective of any of the modeling done by the coronavirus Task Force or data that the task force has analyzed," White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere said in a statement. "The president’s phased guidelines to open up America again are a scientific driven approach that the top health and infectious disease experts in the federal government agreed with… The health of the American people remains President Trump’s top priority and that will continue as we monitor the efforts by states to ease restrictions.”

The Trump administration has come under unprecedented pressure over its poor response to the pandemic and attempts to open up the country to make the economy look good in an election year.

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