On June 3, 2020, United States Senator and Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) spoke on the need for the Healthcare Workforce Resiliency Act (S.3599). The senator, who serves as a cosponsor of this bill with Sens. Christoper Coons (D-DE), John Cornyn (R-TX), Patrick Leachy (D-VT), David Perdue (R-GA) and Todd Young (R-IN), has proposed a process to recapture unused green cards in employment-based immigration quota over the last 28 years and redistribute them to vital health care providers, including 25,000 to nurses and 15,000 to physicians. On this day, Sen. Durbin’s floor speech focused on the plight of Dr. Parth Mehta, a hospitalist at UnityPoint Health – Central Illinois, who has been waiting for a green card since May 20, 2011, and who during this time has been providing medical care to patients in Peoria. Without legislative change, these nurses and doctors cannot be fully deployed to assist in the COVID-19 response and, if they are inflicted, the disease has potentially far-reaching implications for themselves and their families.
“One out of every six health care and social service workers in America are immigrants,” said Senator Durbin. “When you follow what’s happening in hospitals across America, large and small, rural and urban, so many times you ask, ‘Doctor, where were you born?’ and you find they weren’t born in the United States. But, they came here to practice medicine, and now their work is saving lives every day.”