Capitol Correspondence - 07.23.18

ANCOR Issues Immigration Statement on Workforce

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This month, the ANCOR Board of Directors approved a statement addressing immigration and the workforce. The statement was crafted by ANCOR’s International Council and Government Relations Advisory Committee.  Please contact Esme Grant Grewal, Vice President of Government Relations at [email protected] for more information.

Statement in full:

ANCOR is the national trade association for disability service providers primarily serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). The direct care workforce is the backbone of the services that our over 1,400 members provide to over 1 million individuals with disabilities. With direct care staffing facing one of the most severe and growing workforce crises as documented by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), our focus is profoundly on our staffing needs.

Thus, ANCOR encourages a bipartisan solution to addressing the federal workforce crisis. In recognizing this crisis, ANCOR urges Congress and the White House to support policies that would encourage a legal and stable immigrant workforce to be a part of the solution in order for our members to be able to fill jobs that are vacant at unprecedented numbers.  For example, we believe that the challenges faced by thousands of disability service providers would be significantly reduced by a structured immigrant worker visa program that would be strictly dedicated to the filling of direct support professional (DSP) jobs that are essential to providing services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Disability service providers report significant successful delivery of services with first generation immigrant employees. At least one in four direct care workers is an immigrant, and the total number of immigrants in direct care continues to grow—from 520,000 in 2005 to 860,000 in 2015.  Under a specific immigrant worker visa program, no United States Citizen’s job would be placed in jeopardy.  We simply do not have an adequate labor pool from which to draw.

We deeply respect the authority of Congress and the White House to determine the immigration policies of the United States and are hopeful that in this decision-making thoughtful consideration is given to the importance of legal immigrant workforce.  While immigration can never on its own solve the pervasive workforce vacancies in our sector, it has proven a strong tool for long term care providers in reducing waiting lists for services, creating a stronger workforce, and making a dent in the growing service needs for seniors and people with disabilities.