- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The No. 2 Democrat in the Senate on Tuesday seemed to blame House Republicans’ opposition to a comprehensive immigration reform bill for the lack of trained doctors in African nations now struggling to contain a deadly outbreak of the Ebola virus.

Sen. Richard Durbin, Illinois Democrat, said that the immigration bill — which passed the Senate last year but has not been brought up for a vote in the House amid strong Republican resistance — contained measures requiring some doctors to remain in their home countries in Africa before they could be “recruited” to practice in the U.S.

Mr. Durbin suggested that, had the House GOP embraced the legislation, there would be more trained physicians in countries such as Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, where the Ebola outbreak now is spiraling out of control.

“We included in the immigration reform bill, which passed the United States Senate, a provision which provided, in one respect, if you are medically trained in Africa and promise to serve in Africa for a period of time before going anywhere else, we would honor that and respect that and not allow people to be recruited into the United States if they still had an obligation to their country,” he said at a Senate hearing on the Ebola outbreak Tuesday afternoon on Capitol Hill. “And secondly, that doctors in the United States would be able to serve in these crisis situations overseas without jeopardizing their immigration status. That passed the Senate. That was in the immigration reform bill. It was never called for consideration in the House of Representatives.”

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