Health Advocates Say Elimination of In-Home Supportive Services for Undocumented Immigrants Could Have Devastating Impacts on CA’s Most Vulnerable

Author Details

Sarah Mizes-Tan

Communications Director
510-832-1160 x 204

On Tuesday, May 28, California health advocates stood together with impacted families in opposition to Governor Gavin Newsom’s proposed cuts to the In-Home Supportive Health Services program for undocumented immigrants. The cuts to this critical program based solely on immigration status could have devastating impacts for the 1,500 undocumented immigrants currently participating and for the thousands more who could become eligible over the next few years. 

Mayde Pineda of Fresno utilizes the IHSS program for help caring for her mother with dementia. She said the elimination of this program for her family could make their lives exponentially more difficult.

“There aren’t any other programs that my mom would be able to use or benefit from if the program is taken away from undocumented recipients,” Pineda said. “Without it, we won’t be able to care for her without significant hardship, as we rely on the support provided through IHSS to ensure she receives the necessary daily assistance for her well-being.”

Health advocates and providers agree that these cuts could have devastating and far-reaching impacts on communities of color across the state. For media quotes from those who advocate for and work with the populations who will be directly impacted by these cuts, see below: 

“These services allow seniors and people with disabilities to meet their basic needs at home, rather than be institutionalized or suffer without care. Farmworkers, construction workers, and other essential undocumented workers built, fed, and supported California for decades. We cannot turn our backs on them now.” – Kiran Savage-Sangwan, Executive Director of CPEHN

“The proposed IHSS cuts target undocumented older adults and people with disabilities, and strips them of critical at-home care in favor of more expensive institutional care. This proposal discriminates against a population who needs it most, is counter to the state’s health equity goals, and undercuts the state’s Master Plan for Aging.” – Yasmin Peled, Senior Policy Advocate, Justice in Aging

“DRC vehemently opposes the elimination of In-Home Supportive Services for undocumented Californians in the May Revise. This decision places vulnerable community members who rely on these services for daily care and well-being at grave risk. It will strip children and older adults of services they are currently receiving, placing them at risk of institutionalization, undermining their autonomy and increasing long-term costs. We urge our state leaders to push back against these cuts and stand up for health access and equity for all.” – Eric Harris, Director of Public Policy, Disability Rights California.

“Let’s be clear: the proposed cuts to In-Home Supportive Services undermines the progress towards universal health coverage by rolling back existing services for this specific, vulnerable population. Every Californian deserves access to the care they need, no matter where they were born.  When everyone is covered, everyone benefits, creating a stronger health system for all Californians.” – Christine Smith, Policy & Legislative Advocate, Health Access

“With nearly 3,000 undocumented Californians already receiving IHSS services, the Governor’s plan to remove them from the program would be a great injustice. We believe every Californian deserves access to lifesaving care that allows them to thrive and live safely. Removing access to IHSS places the burden of care on the unpaid labor of family or friends, which data shows is a significant factor keeping families in poverty.” – Doug Moore, Executive Director, United Domestic Workers 

“Nearly half of California’s IHSS home care providers are immigrants. They rejoiced when California expanded Medi-Cal to provide lifesaving care to those trapped in our nation’s broken immigration system. They now feel betrayed by the proposed exclusion of roughly 1,500 people—many who provided essential work here—from critical home care, which costs the state far less than institutional care.” – Arnulfo De La Cruz, President of SEIU 2015 and Executive Board Member of SEIU California.

“Cutting the IHSS program for undocumented Californians is dangerous because it can lead to public charge implications that would put our loved ones at risk of deportation. We ask the governor and the Legislature to stand by our values of a ‘California for all’ and to not turn our backs on some of our most vulnerable communities.” – Masih Fouladi, Executive Director of the California Immigrant Policy Center.