Every year, more than 7,000 American citizens and green card-holders lose out on United States taxpayer-funded residencies to foreign nationals despite having earned their degrees as medical graduate physicians, bombshell congressional testimony reveals.
Kevin Lynn with Doctors Without Jobs unveiled the data to the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship on Tuesday, sounding the alarm on “graduate medical education profiteers.”
“Each year, over 7,000 U.S. citizens and lawful permanent resident medical graduate physicians — with include seniors and prior-year graduates — do not match for a medical residency, all of whom are qualified, ready, and willing doctors who have been sidelined and are waiting to serve their communities now,” Lynn said:
In 2021, over 4,000 non-citizen foreign-trained physicians received residencies in the U.S. This is an enormous increase when 10 years prior, 2,700 foreign-trained physicians received residencies. Between 2011 and 2021, more than 40,000 non-U.S. citizens, foreign-trained physicians were given U.S. taxpayer-funded residencies. Each residency costs taxpayers $150,000 a year. We are subsidizing foreign doctors. [Emphasis added]
As Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) noted in the hearing, more than 10,000 American doctors remain unmatched for residencies, while about 10,000 healthcare workers have been fired in recent months over Chinese coronavirus vaccine mandates.
“That’s 20,000 right there and yet we’re told the only answer is to import more foreign nationals,” McClintock said.
Lynn described a number of instances where unmatched American doctors have contemplated suicide as they struggle to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loans on minimum wage salaries.
“I know of at least several that I can tell you … we talk about suicide, well imagine you’re saddled with over $400,000 in debt and your income is from Uber as well as working a job that might be paying $15 an hour,” Lynn said.
In 2020, alone, U.S. employers sought to import more than 4,200 foreign medical workers to take doctor positions. That same year, the federal government rubber-stamped more than 5,000 labor condition applications to keep foreign medical workers in American jobs.
“Failure to prioritize Americans is emblematic of our medical establishment preferring to import foreign healthcare workers instead of making necessary investments that would broaden medical education and improve our healthcare infrastructure,” Lynn said:
Every area of American endeavor has been impacted by relentless importation of foreign workers starting with lower-paying work, seasonal hospitality workers, and then onto manufacturing to technology workers and now, to doctors who spend at least eight years and hundreds of thousands of dollars to practice the healing arts — a very specialized profession — only to be sidelined and saddled with debt they are unlikely to be able to pay off if they can’t practice medicine. [Emphasis added]
Congress ought to open more residency positions and match all American doctors to those residencies before considering importing foreign nationals at taxpayer costs, Lynn said.
In 2020, unmatched American doctors and American medical graduates urged then-President Trump to prioritize Americans for residency spots over foreign nationals. Many graduates highlighted that while they spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on student loans getting a medical degree in the U.S., foreign nationals who take residency spots often have their education paid for.
“You can’t have a playing field where people from India can score high on an exam and have preference while we are driving Uber and doing Amazon Flex in order to pay our bills,” an unmatched American doctor said at the time.
Rather than prioritizing unmatched American doctors, Republicans and Democrats alike have backed plans to import tens of thousands more foreign nationals to take doctor and nursing jobs at U.S. hospitals.
Those Senators have included former Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) along with Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL), Todd Young (R-IN), Chris Coons (D-DE), John Cornyn (R-TX), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), James Lankford (R-OK), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Tom Carper (D-DE), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Angus King (I-ME), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Rand Paul (R-KY), Jackie Rosen (D-NV), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Tom Udall (D-NM), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).