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NAHC Concerned Proposed Immigration Rule Could Harm Home Health

Posted on Friday, December 14, 2018 12:13 AM

NAHC has filed comments with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on a proposed regulation making it harder for people deemed likely to use public benefits to enter the United States. 

The proposed regulation would change how the federal government decides whether a potential immigrant is “not likely to be a public charge.”  The proposed change would involve a detailed examination of an immigrant’s personal history and economic prospects and grant considerable discretion to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services to reject an application for admission or a green card if the person is believed to lack the resources to provide health care for him or herself and support a large family.

“This proposal will result in fewer eligible home care workers, as immigrants tend to serve as a sizable proportion of the personal care and assistance aides’ workforce,” writes NAHC in its comments on the proposed rule. “These workers often qualify for public assistance through programs such as Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The typical annual income for these non-skilled workers falls below the guidelines for a two-member household as included in the proposed rule, and their eligibility for public assistance will also be counted as negative factors in determinations. Barring Immigrants on the basis of public assistance will only exacerbate an already prevalent workforce shortage leaving many employers unable to care for patients in need. This will cause patients to seek out more costly institutional settings for the same care they could have received in their home.”

It is believed that 30% of home care workers were born outside this country, evenly split between naturalized citizens and non-citizen immigrants.  “This is a strong indication that immigrants will play an important role in addressing the substantial workforce challenges home care will face in the coming years. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, home care workers rank in the top five fastest-growing occupations. By 2026 the demand for home care workers is projected to increase by over one million.”  Because of the low pay for home care workers, many will qualify for public assistance of some kind. 

Source: NAHC

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