Friday, April 30, 2010

Obama Says No

The President has sounded the death knell for immigration reform in 2010. Those expecting immigration reform this year – including nurses and other healthcare workers – should not expect any action until after the mid-term elections in November 2010.

The President’s remarks ended some speculation this week that the Senate would attempt to move on immigration. Earlier, a group of Senators released a new summary Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill -- the Real Enforcement with Practical Answers for Immigration Reform (REPAIR) bill. REPAIR was co-authored by many leading Democrats: Senators Harry Reid (D-NV), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Robert Menendez (D-NJ). It provides a path forward for both political parties to come together and enact a lasting federal fix to the problem this year.

The actual bill language has yet to be released, although summaries have been published. At this point, it is unknown whether there is a specific liberalizing provision for Schedule A occupations – Registered Nurse and Physical Therapists. Past versions of CIR have included such a provision.

To some degree, it doesn’t matter. The President indicated that immigration is a secondary domestic priority and it is unlikely that immigration reform will be taken up in 2010.

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