Monday, March 22, 2010

Why the Pessimism on CIR May Be Misplaced

This week President Obama is expected to sign the long-delayed Healthcare bill, thus ending one the longer American legislative dramas in recent history. Pundits have long-suspected that immigration reform would be the next domestic issue on President Obama’s list, although most expected that the President could get Healthcare and Comprehensive Immigration Reform tackled in his first year. This weekend tens of thousands turned up in Washington to kickoff the rally for CIR.

For readers of this Blog, CIR is only critical insofar as CIR includes liberalized visa quotas and procedures for healthcare occupations that have long been in short American supply – nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, etc. and are expected to be in short supply in the upcoming decade.

Legislators have been hesitant to pass piecemeal legislation at targeted immigration issues. The idea has been to force all immigration issues into one comprehensive bill. This strategy was unsuccessful in 2006-7.

Because of the failure of the 2006-7 effort, pundits are skeptical that any CIR bill will be finished before this November’s mid-term election. The problem with that pessimism is that it fails to consider that all legislation is a long haul. For instance, the Healthcare bill has been declared dead more times than a horror movie villain, and yet it lives!

It helps nobody to be needlessly optimistic or pessimistic on CIR. The reality is that with hard work CIR can be passed and with targeted advocacy healthcare occupations can be part of the discussion. Have you called your Congressman?

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