If immigration overhaul fails, undocumented caregivers have backup plan

By Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

September 2, 2013

LOS ANGELES – While US lawmakers continue working on a comprehensive immigration reform bill, caregivers are also looking into a backup plan that can legalize the undocumented.

A caregiver who has been living in the shadows, for the past five years believes that immigration reform may be one of her few chances at legalizing her stay in America. “Immigration reform is one of our only hopes for the American dream, so hopefully it passes,” she explained one undocumented caregiver.

But with the House of Representatives so far unwilling to tackle the sweeping immigration overhaul, advocates are looking at another pathway to citizenship for undocumented caregivers called the Caring Across Generations Campaigns.

This nationwide initiative that began in 2010 aimS to bring more labor regulations in the caregiving industry as well as create jobs and provide education. This initiative would create a special visa category for undocumented caregivers. 

“If there will be no immigration reform we have another campaign which is national, it’s the caring across generations which is asking for special visas for undocumented caregivers,” said Lolit Lledo of the Pilipino Workers Center. 

Canada has similar legislation inspired by and named after late caregiver Juana Tejada. 
With the proposal still in its early stages and limited only for a specific work sector, advocates say they are still hard at work lobbying for the immigration overhaul.

“There’s always a backup plan in case there’s none. There is another way to get special visas for undocumented caregivers through another campaign, explained Lledo. 

You may reach Steve Angeles at steve_angeles@abs-cbn.com for more information.

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