As we enter the “age wave” with someone turning 65 every 8 seconds in this country, women immigrant in-home care workers are increasingly filling a critical gap for labor in the home care industry.
Yet many of these women are vulnerable to low wages and abuses because they are part of the 11 million of undocumented workers who labor in the shadows of our economy.
A new report by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research in collaboration with the Caring Across Generations campaign explores specific ways in which our immigration and visa system could be reformed to ensure a clear path to legalization for this critical workforce:
For most immigrant women who are in-home care workers, finding an employment-based legal path to come to the United States or a way to acquire legal status once here proves quite difficult. Few, if any, such paths are available for jobs in the care industry under the current immigration system. For immigrant care workers to have access to legal paths to employment, the U.S. system needs to change.
In his current outline for immigration reform, President Obama has stated that he believes immigration reform must include expedited citizenship for those with advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM).
Immigrant care workers should be granted the same expedition – in recognition of the invaluable work these caregivers currently provide but also to ensure that we confront the care gap in a way the ensures dignity and quality care for workers and consumers.