The COVID-19 pandemic emergency reminds us all that we are in it together. As a grassroots organization with thousands of individuals from more than 60 countries, mostly grad students doing medical and scientific research, All of Us is acutely aware of the obstacles presented by America’s immigration system to getting green cards for the people we need, promptly and fairly. We appreciate how difficult it is for the Congress to agree on solutions: this is not a zero-sum nation, where no one can gain unless another loses.
So, at this vital time, All of Us strongly supports recapturing unused green cards from previous fiscal years for nurses, who are courageously fighting COVID-19 pandemic to save lives at the risk of their own. This is a minor adjustment that Congress should be able to do promptly in the next emergency legislation. The current green card delay for nurses is more than 3 years. In this pandemic, we cannot wait that long for fully staffed emergency rooms, clinics and hospitals.
Likewise, we urge Congress to take medical doctors who qualify for a national interest waiver entirely outside of the categorical cap. The current green card delay for many doctors is more than 10 years. America needs the flexibility to respond to COVID-19 outbreaks that only a green card can provide to these desperately needed physicians.
Let’s be clear: while All of Us does include some medical doctors, nurses and many medical researchers, the direct benefit to our members from these small measures will not be large. But we do not consider this to be the kind of zero-sum approach that we oppose.
So much of the immigration debate is selfish, frankly. Each faction demands their interest, so that Congress cannot do anything, until it does everything, so it does nothing. In these trying times, that is not good enough.
All of Us members hope to become new Americans by choice, so of course we want immigration fixed. But ensuring that our chosen country has the nurses and doctors we need in this crisis is not just an immigration issue: it is health care. Recapture unused green cards for nurses, and give medical doctors the flexibility to heal us that only a green card provides.
We need to save lives NOW.