(OPINION) Looking for an immigration bill that can pass? It’s health care

In a surprise turn of events this month, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) derailed a Judiciary Committee hearing on banned books to talk about immigration. His calls were promptly echoed by Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.). Despite this bipartisan signaling, the Senate Judiciary hasn’t marked up a single immigration bill in years. With border issues, parole and DACA firmly in the hands of the judiciary, passing a bipartisan health care focused immigration bill could profoundly impact the ability of hospitals and nursing homes to meet their workforce needs.

The forecast for health care workers in the U.S. is dire. A physician shortage of 124,000 is estimated for 2033, and 200,000 new nurses yearly will be needed to replace the retiring workforce. For rural America, the impacts are especially dire. Even without substantial increases in annual immigration, a narrow bill could establish near and long-term solutions to these troubling demographic trends while restoring public faith in Congress’s ability and willingness to play an active role in immigration policy…