Providers support immigration bill in Senate

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A controversial immigration reform bill could help ease the staffing shortage at nursing homes, a major long-term care association asserts.

"From the standpoint of America's long term care profession, we are ready, willing, and able to offer tens of thousands of good-paying jobs that, if filled, will help boost the quality of seniors' care in nursing homes across America," said Bruce Yarwood, president and CEO of the American Health Care Association.

The Senate Judiciary Committee passed the bill Monday. It includes a guest worker program that would allow as many as 400,000 workers per year to work in "unskilled and essential" job categories in the United States for up to six years. Those jobs include certified nurse assistants in nursing homes. More than 50,000 CNA positions are left unfilled around the country.

In a statement, Yarwood said that it is possible to protect the borders of the United States and serve the U.S. economy at the same time.

The House passed a separate border security bill — which the AHCA opposed because it contains punitive employer sanctions and it did not include a guest worker program — in late 2005.