As the death toll from COVID-19 continues to slowly rise and more infections become known each day health care experts and professionals have spoken up about their concerns that the United States may not have enough healthy medical staff to work throughout the pandemic. According to Ali Noorani, the executive director of the National Immigration Forum, existing immigration laws are making it more difficult for skilled foreign healthcare workers to work in the U.S.
During an interview with Boston Public Radio on Wednesday, Noorani said a significant portion of the American healthcare workforce is foreign born while thousands of foreign doctors have been able to do residencies in American hospitals after acquiring J-1 visas.
“All of those...obstacles that we’ve placed in our legal immigration system, particularly when it comes to healthcare, those roosters are coming home to roost,” Noorani said. “As a result, if this pandemic continues on this trajectory we’re going to face a crisis not just in terms of illness and tragedy, but in terms of actual healthcare workforce to care for people.”
Noorani is the executive director of the National Immigration Forum. His latest book is “There Goes the Neighborhood: How Communities Overcome Prejudice and Meet the Challenge of American Immigration.”