Importing Foreign Doctors No Solution for Ongoing Healthcare Crisis

The following blog was provided by a public health professional in Washington, DC, in response to a March 7th article that appeared in the New York Times.

It is expensive to produce doctors. It is a significant investment by both the individual pursuing a medical degree and our government to help subsidize their education and residency training. It is also difficult to become a doctor. Fewer than half (43% in 2012) of those who apply to medical school in the U.S. each year are accepted. If you are lucky enough to be admitted to a U.S. medical school, you face four years of school, a mountain of debt, and competition for a limited number of residency spots.

In this climate of heated competition for medical school admissions and even with the opening of several new medical schools, we are still not producing enough doctors to keep pace with population growth, much less the predicted physician shortage of 150,000 to 200,000 over the next 20 years. This shortage is most acute within primary care, an area where foreign doctors are becoming increasingly more common. With the passage of healthcare reform and the retirement of the “baby boomer” generation from the healthcare workforce and into the age where healthcare utilization increases, we are facing a legitimate crisis.

Increasingly, graduates of U.S. medical schools are competing for residency spots, which are subsidized by U.S. taxpayers, with non-citizens who completed medical school outside the U.S. In 2010, 13% of residents were foreign graduates of foreign medical schools. As the number of non-U.S. citizens filling residencies increases, we are not only “stealing” these doctors from foreign countries but we are taking away opportunities from U.S. citizens. This constant importing of foreign doctors deters our own citizens from becoming doctors AND discourages the U.S. government from investing in domestic medical education.

U.S. medical schools, for their part, are hesitant to increase enrollment without a corresponding increase in the number of residencies. They do not want to produce doctors who are unable to find work because they are not placed in one of a finite number of residencies, which are primarily funded by Medicare and capped by Congress.

We need to produce more doctors and importing foreign medical school graduates is not a long term solution. We cannot rely on foreign countries to produce our doctors for us and then flood the market with those willing to work for less. The best and brightest from our own country will stop pursuing medicine and create an unsustainable workforce in an area where it is necessary to attract our top minds. By increasing the number of U.S. medical school slots, as well as residencies, and incentivizing U.S. medical school graduates to pursue primary care, we can begin to move our healthcare system in the right direction without resorting to attracting foreign doctors away from developing countries.

Racist … For Enforcing the Laws

The following is a contribution by outside blogger Gregory Sokoloff. Opinions expressed are solely those of Mr. Sokoloff.

Most of these people don’t even have the right to be present in this country, much less to work. And one cannot hire them even for a day without breaking the law. And yet day laborers of League City, Texas, apparently feel so emboldened and sure of their future that they are suing Texas Gov. Rick Perry and the city police department, alleging that it is not them, but the authorities who are breaking the law.

According to a very empathetic report by Univision, the Spanish-language TV network, the laborers used to congregate at a League City parking lot where entrepreneurs willing to take advantage of cheap illegal labor used to pick them up. Police have apparently disrupted this hush-hush black market, but, in doing so, have incurred the wrath not only of the laborers, but also of the Mexican American Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), which bills itself as a law firm for the Latino community.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court last year, alleges discrimination and violation of the laborers’ Constitutional rights. No word, of course, about the plaintiffs’ legal status in this country. “In this case, it is very important to know that everybody has a right to work,” Marisa Bono, the lead attorney for MALDEF, told Univision in Spanish. Really? Even those who sneaked across the border illegally?

“In public places, an individual can ask for money for his or her church, and an individual can ask for work,” Ms. Bono went on to say. “And this is part of our rights under the Constitution.” And if an individual does not have a right even to be in this country? Univision, of course, conveniently avoided this prickly question, and so did Ms. Bono.

But when asked if racism was the driving force behind police actions, she answered, as expected, with a resounding “Yes.”

“City police are not focusing on everybody,” Ms. Bono asserted. “They are focusing specifically on day laborers. Okay? And day laborers in League City are Latinos.” And so are most illegal aliens throughout this country. So, it is not difficult to figure out what Ms. Bono and other people at MALDEF think about enforcing our immigration laws.

It’s not the first time that MALDEF is trying to turn our legal system upside down. The scary part is that they have had some successes. In 2010, they managed to strike down an Arizona state law that demanded a really outrageous and discriminatory thing – proof of citizenship before voter registration. And in 2009, President Barack Obama appointed John D. Trasvina, MALDEF’s president the general counsel at the time, assistant secretary of fair housing and equal opportunity at the Department of Housing and Urban Development where he remains to this day.

So, be careful all of you who want our immigration laws enforced. These lawyers have powerful friends in high places.

A Better Life… The Question Is For Whom

The following is a contribution by outside blogger Gregory Sokoloff. Opinions expressed are solely those of Mr. Sokoloff.

As was to be expected, Hollywood has just given another nod to the open-borders, illegal alien amnesty lobby. And it did it in a subtle, subliminal way as only Hollywood masters of fine art can do.

On Tuesday, the Academy nominated Mexican actor Demian Bichir for best actor for his role in the 2011 movie “A Better Life” where he played an illegal immigrant from Mexico trying to make a living in California against overwhelming odds. Nothing against Mr. Bichir, whom we already know from 2008 Steven Soderbergh’s movie ‘Che,” where he played Fidel Castro. But “A Better Life” was aptly described by the Toronto Star critic Greg Quill as “more than propaganda for immigration policy reform.”

Its main character, Carlos Galindo, lives and works in Los Angeles illegally, his life full of trials and tribulations. He is caught and deported and decides to come back by again crossing the border without a permit. The human drama depicted through most of the movie does not eclipse the political punch line that comes at the very end. As they prepare to cross into the U.S., a coyote asks the group in Spanish: “Are you ready to go to the other side?” Carlos responds again in Spanish: “Let’s go home.”

Why is the United States his home? Because he has decided so.

The movie subliminally promotes a fictitious right of an individual to settle wherever and whenever across the world as if humans were migratory geese — flying back and forth across frontiers and then plopping themselves in some nifty pond and declaring it home just because the reeds are green and the moss is thick.

Sorry, it does not work that way in the human world. I just wonder: If a flock of illegal aliens descended on the Beverly Hills or Malibu mansions of Academy members and landed in their swimming pools, would they still support this theory?

Only in America

The following is a contribution by outside blogger Gregory Sokoloff. Opinions expressed are solely those of Mr. Sokoloff.

In theory, she should be hunkered down in some dark basement, trembling like an autumn leaf at the sound of every step outside. That’s because she has no legal right of any kind even to walk the streets of this country. In reality, Lucy Allain (pronounced: Aya-in), a 20-year-old Peruvian from New York, wears her law-breaking on her sleeve.

She tells anybody who would listen about her “undocumented” status, as she likes to put it, takes part in street protests, openly makes TV appearances as an illegal alien, and has even decided to get involved in the U.S. presidential campaign.

Last week, the proud daughter of the land of Tupac Amaru rebels and Abimael Guzman, the jailed leader of local Maoist guerrillas, confronted Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney face-to-face, when he made a quick dash to New York from South Carolina to take part in a fundraiser. Ms. Allain ambushed the former Massachusetts governor after the event as he was shaking supporters’ hands and demanded an explanation about his opposition to the Dream Act, a piece of legislation that would provide a pathway to U.S. citizenship to some illegal aliens who entered the United States as children if they joined the military or took a few college classes.

The draft, described by many as an attempt at “backdoor amnesty,” failed in Congress in 2010, and Mr. Romney has promised to veto it if it ever resurfaced. According to media reports, the candidate restated his position, but the conversation apparently ended on a sour note when Ms. Allain told him about her illegal status.

“When he heard that I was illegal, he pulled his hand out as if I were a criminal,” she complained to Univision, the top Spanish-language network. “I felt bad … as if I were trash.” She also felt her rights were violated when somebody from the crowd dared shout that she should go back to her own country. And on Sunday, she was invited to Univision’s program “To the Point,” a Hispanic counterpart of “Meet the Press,” to elaborate on her outrage and tell the Hispanic community how Mr. Romney was not suitable for an America she envisioned.

“If he were elected president, our dream would be broken,” Ms. Allain warned, adding that she needed to confront Mr. Romney “so that he would stop telling lies.”

Pretty bold for an outlaw, who is not pacing a cell of a deportation center just because President Obama has decided that in the run-up to the November election, it would not be prudent to roil up the Hispanic community.

But frankly, this is not about Ms. Allain and her loudmouth buddies. We have seen this before and probably will see it again. It is more about us, our respect for our own sovereignty, laws, national pride, the political process, which, incidentally, is not an internationally-open contest, and for the presidential candidates, one of whom will eventually run this country. Here, essentially, we have a foreigner, who comes to this country, breaks the law, brazenly brags about it, and tries to lecture our politicians on what they should or should not do.

And nobody is outraged. Nobody – much less the feared ICE – moves a finger to put Ms. Allain where she belongs, and the whole event is brushed off by the big media and the punditry as an amusing episode of little relevance.

I beg to differ. It speaks volumes about our self-respect as a nation and the rule of law, a pillar of our liberty and freedom, which does not look as solid as it used to anymore. Just imagine an American sneaking illegally into Ms. Allain’s home country, confronting a local presidential candidate and trying to lecture him or her about what to do while in the presidential palace. I guarantee you a monumental scandal, with complains about infringement on sovereignty rushed to the United Nations, the International Court in The Hague and every other possible institution.

It was not that long ago that Peruvians handled with utmost efficiency the case of an American, who came to their country under the false guise of a journalist and tried to help impose on their society her leftist worldview. In 1996, New Yorker Lori Berenson was convicted by a local court of treason and sentenced to life in prison without parole, and attempts by her lawyers to arrange for her return to the United States have so far been unsuccessful.

I think, as far as defense of sovereignty is concerned, we can learn from Peruvians a thing or two.

Editor’s note: A video recording of Ms. Allain’s confrontation with Gov. Romney and an interview with the Peruvian illegal alien can be viewed on the Website of the illegal alien advocacy group, America’s Voice.

AILA: Loss of Income Will Not Qualify as ‘Extreme Hardship’

The following is a contribution by outside blogger Gregory Sokoloff. Opinions expressed are solely those of Mr. Sokoloff.

Loss of income resulting from an illegal alien’s deportation cannot be considered “extreme hardship” under a new Department of Homeland Security proposal introducing new procedures for inadmissibility waivers for migrants with unauthorized stays in the U.S. exceeding six months, according to a top immigration law expert.

The proposal, unveiled by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on Jan. 9, aims to do away with the current three-year and 10-year inadmissibility rules, if the aliens can demonstrate that their “U.S. citizen spouse or parent” would suffer “extreme hardship” if their admission to the United States were denied. Under current law, illegal aliens with “immediate relatives” who are U.S. citizens must first exit the country and be barred from re-entry, respectively, for three or 10 years if their illegal stays exceeded 180 days or 365 days.

The new proposal calls for pre-approving the aliens in the United States. After that, they would have to quickly return to their home countries, go to a U.S. consulate there and receive formal approval for green cards often during that same interview.

The immigration agency did not elaborate what could constitute “extreme hardship” that must be demonstrated along this process. But Crystal L. Williams, executive director of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) said it cannot be just loss of income. “That doesn’t even rise to the level of hardship, much less extreme hardship,” Ms. Williams said in an interview. “Usually, there is a mental or physical disability involved on the part of a qualifying U.S. citizen of resident.”

She added that the only new element in the proposal consisted in processing of the waiver inside rather than outside of the United States, followed by a quick exit of the petitioner in case of pre-approval. Ms. Williams does not think the plan will facilitate legalization for parents of so-called “anchor babies” primarily because the “extreme hardship” requirement will still have to be met. “The child cannot qualify the parent for the waiver, though,” said the AILA executive director. “The spouse forms the basis of the hardship. The child can’t form the basis of the hardship.”

Ms. Williams acknowledged that she had heard legal experts “speculate” that the proposed changes would give a boost to fake marriages driven exclusively by the interest of legalization, but she dismissed these speculations as exaggerated. “The scrutiny level on waivers is extremely high,” she said. “Part of showing the ‘extreme hardship’ is to show that the relationship is longstanding and highly dependent on one another. And so, I do not see how somebody can get away with trying to get a waiver out of a fake marriage.” People married for only a few months or even a year have little chance of their waiver being approved, the AILA executive director explained.

Too Miffed To Do Their Job?

The following is a contribution by outside blogger Gregory Sokoloff. Opinions expressed are solely those of Mr. Sokoloff.

It looks like our Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency is too upset to do its job. According to a statement by the Maricopa County’s Sheriff’s Office, it recently refused to take into custody illegal aliens just because it disapproved of Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s work methods.

The incident occurred shortly before Christmas when sheriff’s deputies arrested 12 illegal aliens involved in human smuggling in northern Maricopa County. It turned out that six of them could not be charged with felonies under Arizona’s human smuggling laws.

According to the statement, after realizing that, the deputies contacted ICE and asked the federal agents to take the six into their custody. The response was a flat refusal. The deputies were told by ICE officials that following a “new order from Department of Homeland Security,” ICE would not pick up these illegal immigrants, the statement said.

ICE officials were directly asked by the sheriff’s deputies if this new policy only applies to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, and the answer was, “Yes.” The deputies then contacted Casa Grande Border Patrol, which agreed to accept the illegal aliens, the statement pointed out.

The refusal prompted a sharp rebuke for the sheriff, known for his uncompromising stance on illegal immigration. “Not accepting these illegal aliens is nothing short of unannounced amnesty,” Arpaio said.

We all know that the sheriff is not on the best of terms with the federal government. In December, following a three-year investigation, the Justice Department accused the sheriff of engaging in widespread civil rights abuses, including mistreatment of Latinos and racial profiling. Arpaio has rejected the charge. But in the wake of the report, the Department of Homeland Security revoked the sheriff’s office’s authority to identify and detain illegal immigrants.

I have little appetite for sorting out the tiff between the sheriff’s office and the federal government. But in the case of ICE, it looks like politics has gotten the better of the federal agency and eclipsed its primary mission, which is to protect the border and catch illegal intruders.

Personally, I don’t care if the illegal aliens are being handed over to ICE by Fidel Castro himself or any other human rights violator of his ilk. The job of ICE is not to do political cherry-picking, but to take all the illegal aliens — regardless of where they come from — and process them as required by the law.

And if the agency decides it is too angry with somebody to do its work, maybe Congress should also get angry and cut off ICE’s funding.