NEW YORK — Caring Across Generations applauds President Obama for taking a tremendous step forward for securing the eldercare workforce we need for a stronger economy and more secure future. This action is especially critical for the wellbeing of older Americans and people with disabilities – and for the millions of aging Baby Boomers who will need care in the coming years. As Americans live longer than ever before, more people will need assistance from home care workers – increasingly immigrant women – to live independently at home. Bringing home care workers and their families out of the shadows will also ensure sustainable care for the families they support.
“Immigrant care workers are the unsung heroes and heroines who allow us to stay in our homes and communities as we age,” said Sarita Gupta, Co-Director of Caring Across Generations and Executive Director of Jobs With Justice. “Individuals who do the incredible work of caring physically and emotionally for our families should not be at risk of being torn from their own homes and families as a result of broken policies. This is a huge victory for our families, our elders and people with disabilities, and our communities.”
“When one of eight home care workers live in fear of deportation, this hurts the families that rely on their care as well as the workers themselves,” added Gupta. “Our immigration policies to date have contributed to high turnover in the home care industry, leading to unstable care for our loved ones. This executive order will bring peace of mind to millions of families, immigrant or not. But we need to keep pushing for a permanent solution – and one that includes all of those that have not been included – for a more stable workforce and a stronger economy.”
“Every American who intends to grow old with dignity should embrace this action,” said Richard J. Fiesta, executive director of Alliance for Retired Americans. “By 2050, the number of people needing long-term care and personal assistance will more than double from 12 million to 27 million, and the need for home care workers will surge to match. Creating a pathway to citizenship will stabilize the home care workforce that millions depend on to live independently, and significantly increase the tax base for Social Security and Medicare.”
“This action is a critical step in the right direction,” said Henry Claypool, former Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Health and Human Services for Disability Policy. “People often don’t think about the needs of people with disabilities when we talk about immigration reform. But the reality is that many Americans with disabilities can live independently in their communities because of the support of immigrant personal attendants. They help enable us to be active members of the community — go to school, work, volunteer, and more — and it’s only fair that they can do the same, free of fear.”