BISMARCK – U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND) spoke to U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli today urging him to address the concerns of health care workers whose visas may expire this summer without being renewed in time because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Senator Cramer reached out to DHS after hearing about this issue from several health care constituencies.
“North Dakota’s health care workers need stability and peace of mind about their legal status during this crisis. We need them focused on providing the important, high quality care they care capable of, not worrying about the threat of deportation. While the Administration’s promise of leniency is a positive step, it does not provide these workers with enough certainty to relieve them of their understandable anxiety,” said Senator Cramer. “I thank Acting Deputy Secretary Cuccinelli for his time. I am hopeful he heard our concerns and look forward to working with the Department on possible solutions.”
The COVID-19 pandemic is causing a buildup of visas which need to be processed, meaning some visas might not be addressed before they are set to expire this summer. While DHS has indicated it will use its existing authority to provide flexibility for those going through the renewal process, Senator Cramer is working with DHS to issue official guidelines which would provide certainty to immigrant health care workers.
Today’s call is part of Senator Cramer’s work to ensure the immigration system helps address the health care needs caused by COVID-19. His efforts include urging the Administration to resume premium processing for physicians seeking employment-based visas and to waive restrictions preventing doctors with certain employment-based visas from providing medical care at locations other than those specifically approved in their visa.