Opposition is expected to be widespread. A group of 17 state attorneys general sent a letter to the Office of Management and Budget last month, arguing that DHS had "entirely failed to estimate the true costs" of the regulation.
"The proposed rules would cause extensive injury to our states' economies and to millions of our states' residents," Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson wrote. "If implemented as proposed, the rules will result in a reduction of total economic output, a drop in workers' wages, and elimination of jobs in our states."
Businesses, such as the home care industry, are also expected to be affected. An estimated 25% to 40% of the nation's 2 million home care workers are recent immigrants. The average wage is about $10 an hour, which makes many of them eligible for public assistance.
William Dombi, president of the National Association for Home Care and Hospice, says there is already a shortage of home care workers and the new rule will only exacerbate the problem.
"This is very hard work, and it's very poorly paid," he says.
Dombi says the irony is that many home care workers need public assistance because their low pay rates are set by the government program — Medicaid — that funds many of the services they provide.
"The fact that the workers may be earning [$20,000] to $25,000 a year is primarily due to the fact that Medicaid is not paying enough for them to have a living wage," he says.
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