Text: S.3135 — 111th Congress (2009-2010)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in Senate (03/17/2010)


111th CONGRESS
2d Session
S. 3135


To enhance global healthcare cooperation and for other purposes.


IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

March 17, 2010

Mr. Durbin introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary


A BILL

To enhance global healthcare cooperation and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the “Global Health Care Cooperation Act”.

SEC. 2. Global health care cooperation.

(a) In general.—Title III of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1401 et seq.) is amended by inserting after section 317 the following:

“SEC. 317A. Temporary absence of aliens providing health care in developing countries.

“(a) In general.—Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall allow an eligible alien and the spouse or child of such alien to reside in a candidate country during the period that the eligible alien is working as a physician or other health care worker in a candidate country. During such period the eligible alien and such spouse or child shall be considered—

“(1) to be physically present and residing in the United States for purposes of naturalization under section 316(a); and

“(2) to meet the continuous residency requirements under section 316(b).

“(b) Definitions.—In this section:

“(1) CANDIDATE COUNTRY.—The term ‘candidate country’ means a country that the Secretary of State determines to be—

“(A) eligible for assistance from the International Development Association, in which the per capita income of the country is equal to or less than the historical ceiling of the International Development Association for the applicable fiscal year, as defined by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development;

“(B) classified as a lower middle income country in the then most recent edition of the World Development Report for Reconstruction and Development published by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and having an income greater than the historical ceiling for International Development Association eligibility for the applicable fiscal year; or

“(C) qualified to be a candidate country due to special circumstances, including natural disasters or public health emergencies.

“(2) ELIGIBLE ALIEN.—The term ‘eligible alien’ means an alien who—

“(A) has been lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence; and

“(B) is a physician or other healthcare worker.

“(c) Consultation.—The Secretary of Homeland Security shall consult with the Secretary of State in carrying out this section.

“(d) Publication.—The Secretary of State shall publish—

“(1) not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this section, a list of candidate countries;

“(2) an updated version of the list required by paragraph (1) not less often than once each year; and

“(3) an amendment to the list required by paragraph (1) at the time any country qualifies as a candidate country due to special circumstances under subsection (b)(1)(C).”.

(b) Rulemaking.—

(1) REQUIREMENT.—Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall promulgate regulations to carry out the amendments made by this section.

(2) CONTENT.—The regulations promulgated pursuant to paragraph (1) shall—

(A) permit an eligible alien (as defined in section 317A of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as added by subsection (a)) and the spouse or child of the eligible alien to reside in a foreign country to work as a physician or other healthcare worker as described in subsection (a) of such section 317A for not less than a 12-month period and not more than a 24-month period, and shall permit the Secretary to extend such period for an additional period not to exceed 12 months, if the Secretary determines that such country has a continuing need for such a physician or other healthcare worker;

(B) provide for the issuance of documents by the Secretary to such eligible alien, and such spouse or child, if appropriate, to demonstrate that such eligible alien, and such spouse or child, if appropriate, is authorized to reside in such country under such section 317A; and

(C) provide for an expedited process through which the Secretary shall review applications for such an eligible alien to reside in a foreign country pursuant to subsection (a) of such section 317A if the Secretary of State determines a country is a candidate country pursuant to subsection (b)(1)(C) of such section 317A.

(c) Technical and conforming amendments.—

(1) DEFINITION.—Section 101(a)(13)(C)(ii) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(13)(C)(ii)) is amended by adding “except in the case of an eligible alien, or the spouse or child of such alien, who is authorized to be absent from the United States under section 317A,” at the end.

(2) DOCUMENTARY REQUIREMENTS.—Section 211(b) of such Act (8 U.S.C. 1181(b)) is amended by inserting “, including an eligible alien authorized to reside in a foreign country under section 317A and the spouse or child of such eligible alien, if appropriate,” after “101(a)(27)(A),”.

(3) INELIGIBLE ALIENS.—Section 212(a)(7)(A)(i)(I) of such Act (8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(7)(A)(i)(I)) is amended by inserting “other than an eligible alien authorized to reside in a foreign country under section 317A and the spouse or child of such eligible alien, if appropriate,” after “Act,”.

(4) CLERICAL AMENDMENT.—The table of contents of such Act is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 317 the following:


“Sec. 317A. Temporary absence of aliens providing health care in developing countries.”.

SEC. 3. Attestation by health care workers.

(a) Attestation requirement.—Section 212(a)(5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(5)) is amended by adding at the end the following:

“(E) HEALTH CARE WORKERS WITH OTHER OBLIGATIONS.—

“(i) IN GENERAL.—An alien who seeks to enter the United States for the purpose of performing labor as a physician or other health care worker is inadmissible unless the alien submits to the Secretary of Homeland Security or the Secretary of State, as appropriate, an attestation that the alien is not seeking to enter the United States for such purpose during any period in which the alien has an outstanding obligation to the government of the alien’s country of origin or the alien’s country of residence.

“(ii) OBLIGATION DEFINED.—In this subparagraph, the term ‘obligation’ means an obligation incurred as part of a valid, voluntary individual agreement in which the alien received financial assistance to defray the costs of education or training to qualify as a physician or other health care worker in consideration for a commitment to work as a physician or other health care worker in the alien’s country of origin or the alien’s country of residence.

“(iii) WAIVER.—The Secretary of Homeland Security may waive a finding of inadmissibility under clause (i) if the Secretary determines that—

“(I) the obligation was incurred by coercion or other improper means;

“(II) the alien and the government of the country to which the alien has an outstanding obligation have reached a valid, voluntary agreement, pursuant to which the alien’s obligation has been deemed satisfied, or the alien has shown to the satisfaction of the Secretary that the alien has been unable to reach such an agreement because of coercion or other improper means; or

“(III) the obligation should not be enforced due to other extraordinary circumstances, including undue hardship that would be suffered by the alien in the absence of a waiver.”.

(b) Effective date.—The amendment made by subsection (a) shall take effect on the date that is 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act.

(c) Application.—Not later than the effective date described in subsection (b), the Secretary of Homeland Security shall begin to carry out subparagraph (E) of section 212(a)(5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as added by subsection (a), including the requirement for the attestation and the granting of a waiver described in clause (iii) of such subparagraph (E), regardless of whether regulations to implement such subparagraph have been promulgated.