Linh’s Story: An American Success Story Made Possible by Family-Based Immigration

by Linh Chuong. This post originally appeared on the SEARAC blog.

In 1986, my dad was forced to flee Vietnam because of persecution. He came to the United States as a refugee and was relocated to Oakland along with my three older brothers. As a child, I remained in Vietnam with my mother and three siblings, and my father filed paperwork to bring the rest of my family to the United States so we could be together again. We spent almost a decade apart before we were reunited as a family in East Oakland eight years later.

Our first.... Read More

             

Health Needs of Older Rural Immigrants Often Overlooked

by Beth Baker. This article originally appeared on Next Avenue.

Micaela Rios, 64, who immigrated to rural western Kansas from Mexico 20 years ago, has a difficult job in a meatpacking plant. After years of packing beef in cold, wet conditions, she developed arthritis and high blood pressure. When she was 60, she had a heart attack.

Many immigrants and refugees work alongside her, some of them older than she, Rios said. Despite the arduous work, she feels lucky that the job comes with health insurance. She hopes to retire once Medicare kicks in.

“One reason she hasn’t retired is because of her health insurance,” said her daughter, Karla Davila, who acted as her mother’s interpreter for this interview..... Read More

             

Worried About Care for Your Aging Parents? Support Racial Justice.

As a long-term care advocate, the most common question I get from friends is about access. A friend needs home care for his father with dementia, but he doesn’t know where to start or whether he can afford it. Another friend who has begun applying for Medicaid for her mother soon discovers that the application process is arduous and deeply invasive. Worse, she learns that paying for a nursing home will quickly deplete her mother’s savings—as designed by Medicaid—just to qualify for government support. The safety net for people who need long-term care is fractured, unfair and complicated—a painful realization at the worst possible time.

I think of these scenarios when I’m caught in policy debates about.... Read More

             

Undocumented Latinos Aging in New England’s Shadows

By Tibisay Zea. This story originally ran in El Planeta. To read the original article in Spanish, click here.

On every warm and sunny afternoon, Pedro Arellano, 68, sings Mexican boleros and rancheras accompanying himself with the guitar at an emblematic park in Boston. He seems to camouflage himself under the foliage, but there he is, in the shade, where many Bostonians have heard him, for years–yet very few know who he is, or would be able to recognize him.

Arellano arrived in the United States in 1991. He left his wife and six children in Puebla, his hometown in Mexico, and put himself in the hands of a coyote to cross the border, running away from.... Read More

             

Health Risks To Farmworkers Increase As Workforce Ages

by Sarah Varney, Kaiser Health News.

That bag of frozen cauliflower sitting inside your freezer likely sprang to life in a vast field north of Salinas, Calif. A crew of men and women here use a machine to drop seedlings into the black soil. Another group follows behind, stooped over, tapping each new plant.

It is backbreaking, repetitive work. Ten-hour days start in the cold, dark mornings and end in the searing afternoon heat.

More than 90 percent of California’s crop workers were born in Mexico. But in recent years, fewer have migrated to the U.S., according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Researchers point to a number of causes: tighter border controls; higher prices charged by.... Read More

             

Poor Public Transportation Can Be a Roadblock to the Everyday Needs of Arab-American Seniors

By Julia Kassem, Detroit Journalism Cooperative

Conversations around Detroit-area public transit in recent months have focused on new routes on Woodward, Gratiot and Michigan Avenue – as well as the Detroit Connector, a new service operating from Ann Arbor to Detroit offered by the University of Michigan that launched October 30.

Yet these discussions around transit development tend to omit those most in need of affordable, reliable and convenient transportation options.

Nationwide, the Pew Foundation reports that while only 18 percent of urban dwellers born in the United States regularly use public transportation, almost 38 percent of foreign-born city residents rely on public transit.

No. 1 Obstacle to Self-Sufficiency

In Metro Detroit, a city without the mass-transit system.... Read More

             

Aggressive Deportation Policies Tear Family Caregivers Away From the Elders Who Depend on Them

Aggressive deportation policies, like those that have been enacted since Trump’s inauguration, tear families apart — including elders and the family caregivers they depend upon. Since 1980, the share of households headed by an immigrant has doubled (from 7% to 14% in 2012). In 2009, 16% of households headed by an immigrant were multi-generational, compared with 10% of households with a U.S.-born head. Many immigrant and refugee elders depend on their grown children for support for daily tasks, emotional support, or even fulltime caretaking. In Cambodian refugee communities, nearly two-thirds of older adults have been found to suffer from PTSD, and nearly all of those who survived.... Read More

             

Finding a Place to Call Home: Dr. Dio Gica Talks SAGE, Pride Month, and Housing for LGBT Older Adults

It’s LGBT Pride Month, and we’re celebrating all month long with a series of interviews with staff at SAGE || Advocacy and Services for LGBT Elders. Today’s interview is with Dr. Diosdado Gica, Chief Program Officer. Dio presented with the Diverse Elders Coalition during the 2017 Aging in America conference in Chicago, IL. Here he talks about Pride Month, intersectionality, and what it means to have a safe place to call your home.

What is your role with SAGE?
I am SAGE’s Chief Program Officer, and in addition to managing the direct services we provide here in.... Read More

             

Ships, Bridges, and Barriers: My Family in California

My grandfather passed through the Golden Gate — where the Golden Gate Bridge would later be constructed — in October 1903. He was on a ship from Japan that had stopped in Honolulu. The ship’s manifest notes that he was none of the following: an anarchist, a polygamist or a cripple.

My grandfather arrived in the time between the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and the Immigration Act of 1924 (which included the Asian Exclusion Act and the National Origins Act). By 1924 the U.S. government had completely blocked the immigration of people it deemed undesirable including Asians, Arabs, people with disabilities, formerly incarcerated people, people with a history of physical or mental health issues, and the poor — along.... Read More

             

The Painful Struggles of America’s Older Immigrants

by Chris Farrell. This article originally appeared on Next Avenue.

America’s immigrant community is aging along with the rest of the population, and in many cases, with great financial difficulty.

Some 15 percent of adults 60 and over were foreign-born in 2015, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Older immigrants represent a larger proportion of the elderly in major gateway cities and states. For example, in New York City, they comprise 46 percent of older adults; in California, one in nearly three older residents is foreign-born. Late-life immigrants are contributing to rising ethnic populations in rural areas and small towns in the Midwest and South, such as in Minnesota and Georgia, according to.... Read More

             

America’s Stateless People: How Immigration Gaps Create Poverty

by Paul Nyhan. This article originally appeared on Equal Voice News.

FRESNO, Calif. — They came to America in the 1970s and 1980s as child refugees, members of the Hmong minority in Laos fleeing that country’s new communist government and persecution for helping the CIA in its covert war in Southeast Asia.

America held the promise of safety and a piece of the American dream.

Many of them chased that dream in California’s Central Valley, slowly, sometimes painfully, building lives in a new country where their language and culture were virtually unknown. Largely from poor rural farming families, they often struggled to adjust to a dramatically different society, with few relevant skills and limited support.

But, they went.... Read More

             

Refugee elders support each other after a long, difficult journey

by Hitomi Yoshida, with with support from Naw Doh, Shira Walinksy and Melissa Fogg, members of the Southeast by Southeast Community Center in Philadelphia. Hitomi is a long-time friend of the Diverse Elders Coalition, and you can read her stories of intergenerational work with diverse elders in our Diverse Elders Stories Initiative.

Naw Gay Lay is a 77-year-old Karen refugee from Myanmar (Burma). The Karen people are an ethnic and religious minority group that has been persecuted throughout much of Burma’s history.

As a young woman, Naw Gay Lay worked in a rice field and began raising her family in a rural village in central Burma. When she reached her mid-30s, the whole.... Read More

             
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