As the population ages, the need for caregivers is growing, but the Trump administration’s immigration policies, whatever you may think of them, could have a negative impact on a caregiving industry that is already facing workforce shortages.
The Supreme Court is currently considering President Trump’s decision to end the program that protected young undocumented immigrants from deportation, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. In addition, he has ended Temporary Protected Status (TPS) — 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.
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.
Meanwhile, the U.S. is already facing a growing shortfall of home health workers as 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 each day. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there will be more than one million new caregiver positions created by 2028, a 36 percent increase. Caregiving jobs require hard work for low pay, so finding workers to take those jobs is difficult.
Turnover is already high in the industry, and health care employers complain about the lack of available workers. Losing a large portion of the workforce will only make it harder to fill the positions. Experts also worry that a shortage of home-care workers will lead to more seniors being institutionalized.
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