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Document Type

Notes

Abstract

A looming shortage of over half a million direct care workers within the next decade threatens to leave elderly and disabled individuals without much-needed care. Existing U.S. labor and immigration laws render long-term care work undesirable and providers prone to exploitation. Despite the extension of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s protections to many home care workers in 2015, flawed enforcement mechanisms prevent workers from effectuating their newfound rights. Additionally, restrictive visa programs and crackdowns on undocumented employment limit noncitizens’ ability to secure positions in the industry. As a result, the home care system facilitates the exploitation of home care workers, contributes to high turnover rates, and creates instability for elderly and disabled individuals who rely on caregivers to remain in their communities. This Note argues that Congress should support strategic labor law enforcement initiatives, grant amnesty to undocumented workers, and reform the employment-based visa program to give higher preference to all essential workers. This Note further demonstrates how these actions will benefit both caregivers and their clients.

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