As the population ages, the need for caregivers is growing, but more restrictive immigration policities such as those being promoted by the Trump administration could have a negative impact on a caregiving industry that is already facing workforce shortages. 

 

The Supreme Court is currently considering the administration's decision to end the program that protected young undocumented immigrants from deportation, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. Among other policies, the administration has also ended Temporary Protected Status -- a program that gives immigrants who can't return to their home countries due to violence or natural disaster permission to work and live in the United States -- for several groups, including immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador, and Nicaragua.  In addition, another effort is to shift from "chain migration," where people enter the country based on family ties, to immigration based on skills, which are presumably not caregiving skills but more high-tech abilities.

 

While there is no data on specifically how many of the affected people work as caregivers, about one in four health care workers is an immigrant, according to the Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute (PHI), a nonprofit organization that studies the home care industry. That includes immigrants working as home health aides, personal care aides, and nursing assistants in home and community-based settings, nursing care facilities, assisted living facilities, group homes, intermediate care facilities, and hospitals. In addition, PHI found that immigrants constitute 31 percent of the home care workforce.

 

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Michael Monteforte, Jr.
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