National Council on Aging (NCOA) President and CEO James Firman today issued the following statement regarding President Barack Obama’s announced Executive Action on Immigration Reform:
“Immigration reform is an intergenerational issue that impacts seniors, people with disabilities and their families. Millions of individuals who need long-term care rely on assistance from a direct care workforce that is increasingly foreign-born. Without this assistance many older adults and people with disabilities would simply not be able to remain at home, stay healthy, and age with dignity.
As our population ages, the number of Americans needing long-term care will more than double from 12 to 27 million by 2050. There is a severe projected shortage of available direct care workers, such as nurse aides and home care aides, that commonsense immigration policy could help address. One-quarter of current home care workers were born outside the U.S.
There are also millions of seniors and people with disabilities who are themselves unauthorized immigrants or living in families with relatives who may be. A significant number of these individuals have lived here for many years. They share the same hopes, dreams, and values that brought many older Americans and their families to this country in waves of immigration many decades ago. They should not have to live in constant fear of being separated from their loved ones and community.
The administrative actions announced by the White House appear to be authorized under the law and are a significant first step. They will provide some temporary relief to seniors, people with disabilities, direct care workers, and their families. However, more needs to be done. NCOA calls on Congress and the Administration to work together to enact broader, bipartisan legislation that provides a reasonable pathway to citizenship and fair access to healthcare and economic security in a manner that strengthens our economy and our nation.”
The National Council on Aging (NCOA) is a respected national leader and trusted partner to help people aged 60+ meet the challenges of aging. Our mission is to improve the lives of millions of older adults, especially those who are struggling. Through innovative community programs and services, online help, and advocacy, NCOA is partnering with nonprofit organizations, government, and business to improve the health and economic security of 10 million older adults by 2020. Learn more at ncoa.org and @NCOAging.