The backlash against il-
legal immigration has prompted numerous measures targeted at "aliens," Arizona's "show me your papers" law being the most noteworthy. In Georgia, it appears that an immigration measure has turned out to be a case of legal overreach with unintended consequences.
A recent law there requires licensed health care professionals -- doctors, nurses, pharmacists and others in the medical field -- to prove that they are either citizens or foreigners who are legally permitted to be in the country when they renew their licenses to practice.
"In a state that licenses 500,000 practitioners, the law has sidelined some 500 doctors, 450 physician assistants and respiratory therapists and 600 nurses," the AARP Bulletin reports. Apparently, the additional paperwork is too much for short-staffed state regulatory agencies to process, so qualified medical professionals in Georgia are unable to do their jobs until the red tape is cleared up.
That means that sick people who rely on those doctors, nurses and other professionals have to make other arrangements for their medical care, or probably more likely, are going without it.
As for the effectiveness of the law, so far it hasn't found a single foreigner working in the medical profession without a legal right to be in this country.
The law appears to be a "remedy" for a problem that didn't need to be fixed in the first place. And, sadly, it appears to have done more harm than good.
Our guess is that this is another case of crowd-pleasing, soundbite politics meeting reality, the end result being people losing access to their doctors and nurses.