In response to a proposed rule from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that would change federal immigration regulations, The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) submitted comments highlighting concerns that the proposed changes would adversely affect older adults and their caregivers by expanding the “public charge” test that is used determine whether individuals seeking legal permanent residency, or “green card” status, in the US would be primarily dependent on public assistance for support.
The proposed regulation would expand the public charge test to include a number of non-cash assistance programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), non-emergency Medicaid, Medicare Savings Programs and housing assistance. n4a's comments noted that if the expanded test were implemented, older adults and their families could be forced to choose between obtaining permanent legal status in the U.S. and meeting their basic needs.
Additionally, n4a remains concerned about the implications this proposal could have for the essential workforce of direct-care workers, one-quarter of whom are legal immigrants who could be subject to an adverse determination under an expanded public charge definition. This could result in even greater challenges in filling direct care jobs, a problem that is already projected to become worse without policy changes, as demand rises along with the population.
To view the comments, go here.