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Advocates to Discuss Immigration Reform and Long-Term Care

April 10, 2013

Advocates for elders, immigrants, and people with disabilities will discuss immigration reform and its implications for long-term care — and the direct-care workforce — on April 16 in Washington, DC.

Speaking at the April 16 panel discussion will be:

  • James Firman, National Council on Aging (NCOA)
  • Sarita Gupta, Jobs with Justice and Caring Across Generations (CAG)
  • Ai-jen Poo, National Domestic Workers Alliance and CAG
  • Alan van Cappelle, Bend the Arc

Following the morning discussion, attendees will have the opportunity to participate in an “advocacy day” event on Capitol Hill, where they can encourage legislators to develop a roadmap to citizenship for immigrant members of the workforce.

“Providing a pathway to citizenship for direct-care workers will help stabilize the workforce, ensure protections for workers, and improve the quality of services and supports,” write Joe Caldwell of NCOA and Jason Coates of the National Hispanic Council on Aging in a policy brief.

An estimated one out of five direct-care workers are foreign-born, according to PHI research (pdf). 

Demand for Care Growing

Meanwhile, demand for direct-care workers is expected to grow by nearly 50 percent by 2020, while the number of women aged 25–54 — the main labor pool from which direct-care workers are drawn — is projected to increase by only 2 percent.

“The need to expand the workforce for long term services and supports will impact most families in the United States,” said Trishala Deb, Director of Strategic Partnerships at CAG. 

It is important, Deb continues, for “immigrant workers [to] have access to legalization, which supports safe and respectful working conditions for workers and consumers.”

President Obama has made immigration reform a priority of his second term. A bipartisan group of eight senators is expected to unveil its initial attempt at a reform bill this week.

More information about the April 16 panel discussion and advocacy day is available online.

— by Matthew Ozga

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