Capitol Correspondence - 04.01.19

Administration Shows Interest in Immigration Issues; Possibilities for DSP Workforce Crisis

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ANCOR is sharing this story by the Star Tribune because it relates in two ways to the direct support professional (DSP) workforce which helps people with disabilities live life like everyone. The first is that roughly a quarter of the home health sector (the umbrella category which includes DSPs) is comprised of immigrants, including recipients of Temporary Protected Status (TPS), which is featured in the article. The second is that the due to there to being insufficient U.S.-based workers to meet demand for disability supports, leading to a workforce crisis, ANCOR has begun exploratory conversations with Congressional offices on a DSP employment visa proposal.

As shared by the Star Tribune:

“Isabella Wreh-Fofana screamed with joy when she heard the news that the Trump administration had approved another year’s delay in removing immigration protections for Liberians living in the United States.

The White House announcement on Thursday came just before she was to appear at the State Capitol alongside Gov. Tim Walz, Attorney General Keith Ellison and fellow Liberians to advocate for an extension of the Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) program, which was set to end Sunday. Wreh-Fofana and hundreds of Liberians faced deportation to West Africa many years after resettling here to escape civil war.


Minnesota’s senior U.S. senator, Amy Klobuchar, hailed the move by the man she hopes to succeed as president. […] She said Congress must make a priority of finding a permanent fix, but she expressed concern that a year from now, ‘We might well be back in this same situation, which just seems absurd.’

Liberian refugees were initially authorized to stay in the U.S. under Temporary Protected Status (TPS) approved by President George H.W. Bush in 1991. The protections continued under DED in 2007 under President George W. Bush — with no pathway to apply for permanent residency — but Trump announced last spring that conditions in Liberia had improved regarding the war and the Ebola virus and gave the program one year to wind down.

In his directive to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen on Thursday, Trump said that he had decided it was in America’s foreign policy interest to extend DED through March 30, 2020. ‘The overall situation in West Africa remains concerning and Liberia is an important regional partner for the United States,’ Trump’s directive said. ‘The reintegration of [DED program] beneficiaries into Liberian civil and political life will be a complex task, and an unsuccessful transition could strain United States-Liberian relations and undermine Liberia’s post-civil war strides toward democracy and political stability.’


Trump’s directive expressed a desire to give Congress time as it ‘considers remedial legislation’ that would make repeatedly granting one-year extensions unnecessary. U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minn., vowed to wake up the next morning and get back to finding cosponsors for his bipartisan bill with U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., that would move DED holders into TPS for the next three years.”

Additional context: ANCOR is sharing this text from Politico Pro as it gives further situational context on some of the Administration’s immigration efforts: “Trump may even take another bite at one of Washington’s toughest issues: immigration. The White House tried and failed to push an immigration plan through Congress last year, and many members of Congress and Trump advisers consider the cause futile. But Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner has been soliciting feedback from outside groups on the subject. Administration officials have told outside groups that they could offer a revised proposal perhaps by early summer, according to three people familiar with the matter.”