Good day, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Great Lakes Centers ADA Conference Series. At this time, all participants are in a listen only mode. Later, we will conduct a question and answer session and instructions will follow at that time. If anyone should require assistance during the conference, please press star then zero on your touch tone telephone. As a reminder, this conference call is being recorded. I would now like to introduce your host for todays conference, Ms. Claudia Diaz, Associate Director of the Great Lakes ADA Center. Maam, you may begin.
Great, thank you. Hello everyone and welcome to the ADA Audio Conference Series. This is a collaborative effort of the national network of ADA centers across the country. There are 10 regional centers and we are happy to be able to bring you a variety of topics throughout the year addressing ADA related issues. We have individuals joining us today in a variety of modes, we have people participating via the telephone, individuals using streaming real-time captioning over the internet, and real-time audio streaming via the internet as well. This program is recorded as well as we will have a transcript posted in 10 business days on the ADA Audio Conference website which is www.ada-audio.org, and you will be able to find that program under the Archives section. So, as we get going today, I am pleased to introduce my colleague Anel Gonzalez. He is our Bilingual Technical Assistance Specialist here at the Great Lakes ADA Center joining us today. Anel has been with the Center for over 10 years and in the past years he led the Spanish version of the ADA Audio Conference. He has worked hard to organize today''s session and at this time I want to pass it over to Anel so he can introduce the topic and the speakers.
Thank you, Claudia, and good afternoon to everyone who participating today. I also want to welcome you to this very special session regarding Latino immigrants with disability and their challenges in employment. Today, our speakers will discuss some factors that this group face when is come to accessing social services, including vocational rehabilitation and job placement. As you know, historically the disability community has experienced high rates of unemployment. We are having two speakers and I will be introduce them. But I also want to mention that this is the first time that we do an emphasis in diversity community. Again, we also will take questions from the audience for each of the speakers, and then provide some additional time for questions at the end as well from people as you think and you sensitize that our Operator will queue you when it is time or your time to be able to ask questions. So, I am going to go ahead and start with my introduction today. I am going to introduce Dr. Brigida Hernandez, she is the Director of Research at YAI/National Institute for People Disabilities, established in 1957. YAI has over 5,400 employees and serve approximately 20,000 individuals with developmental and intellectual disability. Prior to her employment at YAI, she was an Assistant Professor at DePaul University at Chicago, Department of Psychology. Currently she holds an appointment as a Research Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Since 1994, she has conducted disability research with a particular focus on employment issues. Dr. Hernandez, the time is you, and it is a pleasure to have you at our conference.
Thank you, Anel. First, I just want to thank the organizers for putting this panel together today. I think it is such an important topic and very timely given the demographic shifts that are occurring in the United States. The title of my talk is: Employment barriers among Latinos with disabilities. And this was work that I conducted when I was at DePaul University a few years back. I wanted to just note that there two collaborators on this project, Access Living, Rene David Luna assisted quite a bit with getting the project up and running and then Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital, Chris Vertiz also served as a collaborator. It was funded by the Disability Research Institute and the National Institute on Disability Research and Rehabilitation. Well, the first thing that I want to share before I go into the actual data and findings from this project is to highlight for you the disability rate when we look at the United States and whites who have disabilities, that percentage right now is about 18%. When we look at Latino population it is slightly higher, it is at 21%. So, Latinos are overrepresented when we look at people with disabilities in the United States. It is a concern now but it is going to be an even bigger concern when we look into the future. It is projected by 2050 Latinos will make up 24% of the U.S. population. So, again, I think it is just, it is timely that we are having this talk today, because of the shifts that are going to occur, and are occurring already in our nation. When we look at employment rates, I imagine that many of you are already familiar with the fact that individuals with disabilities, when we look at their employment rate is much lower than those without disabilities. The current statistics show individuals without have about an 80% employment rate, while those with disabilities, we are looking more at a percentage rate at 38%. When we break it down by the Hispanic population, those who are disabled, we see lower employment rates. Current statistics show that whites with disabilities have about a 40% employment rate, white Hispanics are at 37%, and then black Hispanics are at 30%. So again, just an area that we need to be concerned about. When we look at Vocational Rehabilitation outcomes we see also that Latino VR clients have poorer employment outcomes than white VR clients. And this was shown in a national longitudinal study that was conducted by Hayward, Schmidt and Davis in 2003, where they followed about 8,000 consumers, and saw that ethnic minorities did not fare as well as whites, when they looked at the outcomes within the VR systems. Latinos were more likely to remain in a referral applicant status, when they were trying to seek VR services, they were often more ineligible for services when they sought them out, and they also received less academic training. So, when we look at services that they were trying to get, again, the data does not look good for this particular group. So, what we ended up doing at DePaul University along with our collaborators was to give a closer look at the barriers experienced by Latinos with disabilities, particularly in the Chicago area. And one way to do this would be by surveying people. Another way to do this would be by conducting focus groups, which is what we ended up doing, probably dating about four years ago. We had 45 Latinos with disabilities participate, they were of working age, between the ages of 18 and 64. And we also set the criteria that they needed to either be employed or actively seeking employment because we wanted to target those who could speak directly to employment, job seeking experiences. Seven focus groups were conducted. And just to give you a snapshot of what our participants look like, the majority were male, we had 30 male participate and then we had 15 female participants. We had them fill out a demographic questionnaire, and from the data we received when they completed the demographic questionnaire, we learned that 51% had a monthly income of under $1000, which really was a statistic or a finding that I guess shouldn''t have been all that surprising cause we know that the disability community has higher poverty rates, but we were really struck by this number that so many were living at a wage that was really incredibly low. The other demographic finding that we had with our participants was the number that really had low levels of formal education. 40% of our sample only had a high school diploma, 22% had less than a high school diploma. So we were looking at 62% of our sample either at the high school level or below which then becomes something that is difficult, a challenge when trying to get a position that is competitive and that is meaningful and well-paying. The one thing we did learned from our participants was that 84% had a previous employment history, so that the majority had held a position at one time and 11% at the time of the focus group were actually employed. And then in terms of types of disabilities among our participants, about 47% had physical mobility disabilities, about 18% had intellectual or developmental disabilities, 15% had multiple disabilities, 13% sensory, physical under the medical chronic illness category about 4%, and psychiatric 2%. So although we had a mixed of types of disabilities, what really stood out with this particular group were those with physical and then to a lesser extent those with intellectual developmental multiple and sensory disability. One of the limitations of this project was we didn''t have the psychiatric community well-represented. So that is something to keep in mind as we go through these findings. During our focus groups, we had asked a series of questions and this was, I am presenting data today on employment barriers, but we were also looking at other aspects of employment, including the VR system and also the Ticket to Work program. But today, I am just going to focus on employment. And we had explored the areas of formal education, vocational training, the accessibility of one''s home, transportation, family support, child care, and then difficulties with the English language, whether it was speaking it, understanding it, writing it. We had tacked all these areas during our focus groups to see to what extent they were indeed barriers for our participants. And what we ended up learning was that for 36% of our sample it was the number one barrier, the one that presented the most problem was transportation. And it actually took two forms, one either it was unavailable and that people could not get to and from job sites, or it was unreliable. So if they did have a means to get to a job interview or to their place of employment, at times it wasn''t the most reliable form of transportation, whether it was public transportation or using their own car. Another issue that we heard related to transportation was that a number of our participants lived in communities where the potential for a job was many miles away, so that although jobs were available they would need to travel great distances to get to them. So that was the top barrier to employment that we heard from our group. The second one, and I had hinted on it when I was talking about the demographics of the group, was their level of formal education. About a quarter of our sample spoke to this recognition that they did not have enough education to really compete for those jobs that were well paying, that were meaningful. So, often times they would have to settle for jobs because they knew they couldn''t go out there and get a type of position that we would call competitive. They also spoke to, so that was the second barrier, the third barrier they spoke about was difficulties with the English language, whether it was speaking it, understanding it, writing it, and they described how it impacted the entire employment process. So, when it came to completing applications, interviewing and even on the job, how there was this necessity to really have a command of the English language and that in some cases our participants realized they didn''t have that command. The fourth barrier to employment, one that has been talked about quite a bit for the general disability community, is negative employer attitudes toward workers with disabilities. And we had about a quarter of our sample speak to that issue, where they would try to get positions and it became clear that employers were resistant to hiring people with disabilities. We had some participants who even spoke about a hierarchy, and I actually have a quote that I can share with you where we had two individuals with sensory disabilities described an experience they had when they went to an employer, and they tried to get a position. And I am trying to dig for that quote. I am going to have to paraphrase it, because I don''t have it in front of me at the moment, so I apologize for that. I found it right now. So the participants shared, Yes, we are trying to find work, and we were told that the employer hired people with disabilities, but only those in wheelchairs. And we said to the employer, we may be the first with a visual disabilities to work for you and try us. And they shared with us the focus groups facilitators that they never got a call back from the employer. So, there were some recognition that not only were employers exhibiting behaviors that seemed discriminatory when it came to the disability community as a whole, but also those with particular types of disabilities felt that there was sort of this preference for those in this particular case, those who used wheelchairs. The fifth barrier that was spoken about, not to the degree that we thought would be spoken about, we actually expected much more discussion about this, and it wasnt as strong but we had 11% of our participants speak to employers exhibiting negative attitudes towards Latinos. And what they had to share was more toward the climate or sort of, especially now, the great deal of discussion about legal status and do you have the proper paperwork to work for my company? We had participants shared employers questioning their legal status, despite them having all the documents necessary to demonstrate they could work in this country. And they spoke about attitudes from employers that seemed to be suspicious, and having to deal with that, and having to navigate that system. The other, I wouldn''t say it was essential theme, because we didn''t go in looking for this information, but another theme that did emerged dealt with the issue of undocumented workers. And just to remind the group, there were 45 participants who we sought out for the group and they spoke about competition for jobs. And they spoke about undocumented workers being willing to work at least in their eyes for less pay, and therefore limiting job opportunities for the Latino community as a whole. And what was interesting was we had a few participants who were undocumented, who were quick to point out to the rest of the group that this nation had been built by many immigrant groups that had come to this nation to seek the American dream, and to economically advance. So they sort of took issue with that perspective, that the rest of the participants were sharing. So it was clear in the focus groups that there was a discussion sort of a the demand and supply positions available and the perspective of, at least some of our participants, that undocumented workers were willing to take jobs that were less pay, and limit those job opportunities. And interesting to see that the undocumented workers were quick to remind those folks that, that is how this nation was built, with immigrants coming in and wanting to work. The undocumented workers also talked about how their job opportunities were very, very limited and often they used the word of mouth technique to get positions and often times these positions were the dangerous ones, the ones that other people did not want. A few spoke about taking positions within construction firms or companies, and these positions not only were dangerous, but also short-term and then offering really no insurance coverage. So there was a price to be paid with taking these positions. The undocumented workers also spoke about their inability to get vocational rehabilitation services because they didn''t qualify for them, and I spoke about the group as a whole, speaking about language barriers, well, this is particularly true for the undocumented workers. So I am going to conclude with just some bullet points here from what we learned in terms of the research. And there was much more that we learned that I won''t have time to go into today, but if you are interested, I know we do have a publication out related to this research that I would be happy to share with you. Look, the first thing that we walked away with, was the reality that for Latinos with disabilities, employment challenges are quite pronounced. And the reality is, it is difficult for all individuals for the entire disability community to gain employment but when we look at that one sub-set, that one group of Latinos with disabilities, we are seeing that the challenges are greater, whether it is at the point of entry trying to get a job, or to get VR services, to get adequate and fair treatment, it just becomes more difficult for this particular group. The second thing I want to share is the fact that when it comes to undocumented workers there is very limited research within the area of disability and employment. I did a search today just trying to find information beyond what we found in our focus groups, and there just is not much out there. And so it is an area that is sparse, but also a real important area for us to focus in on in the future. So my third point that I want to emphasize today is as we think about research, and we think about the Latino community, particularly when it comes to disability and employment, we need to think about the fact that there are individuals who are undocumented and trying to live the American dream, and trying to progress in our society, and we know very little about this group. So there is definitely a need for more research within this area. Okay and that concludes my presentation.
Well, thank you very much, Dr. Hernandez for this very inside information about employment issues that immigrants with disabilities face in this society. We would like to open this time for questions that our audience might have to ask to Dr. Hernandez. Operator, can you give us, again, the instruction for our audience to ask questions? And after that, we also have our second speaker who also going to cover other factors about this subject today. Go ahead.
Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, if you have a question at this time, please press the 1 key on your touch tone telephone. If you have already pressed the 1 prior to this announcement, please do so again. Our first question.
I have a comment, having worked with the migrant population for many, many years, has anyone documented the, or traced how many of these disabled people were in this population group, but were never assisted as children?
I think it is a real good question and I am not familiar with anyone documenting that particular theme or issue you are addressing.
That is what you mentioned, Dr. Hernandez, about that this is an area that really has a lack of data, and in fact we also, when we was putting together this audio conference or cover this subject, we contacted several other resource centers, especially the well-known the Pew Hispanic Resource Center and they also don''t have any information, particularly in this area, unfortunately. Go ahead, do we have, thank you so much for the question. Any other questions?
Yes, your line is open.
Yes, and I wanted to find out if there was, in the data that was presented regarding the employment situation for immigrants with disabilities, was there a sub-set by national origin at all?
No, there wasnt. We collected data just on whether one was Latino or non-Latino. We had different groups represented as well, we had the African American community, and then we had whites with disabilities represented, but didn''t asked by particular sub-group.
Thank you for the question. Operator, do we have someone else in line for questions?
Yes, we have five more questions. Your line is open.
Hi and I just had a question in regards to perception. People who hear Latinos speak at times are not used to the accent, have trouble understanding them, and thinking also of you know the condescending attitude that some people have towards people with disabilities, thinking that they need to speak louder or anything like that. When you combine the two, do you find that and I dont know if you looked at this but do you find that there is even a bigger effect of not being understood by employers or employers thinking that you know, for example, Hispanic without a disability, they think that they automatically going to be able to understand them better than Hispanic who has a disability.
Well, there is some literature that speaks to what is known as double jeopardy. So that you can have discriminatory behavior because of one''s disability status, but it could be even compounded or made worse because you have another layer of discrimination that can occur because of one''s race and ethnicity. And it is really difficult to tease apart, which one has to deal with the disability, which one has to deal with ones race or ethnicity, but there is discussion in the research about how it is almost got a double impact, and it is hard to know which one employers may be responding to, are they responding to the fact that you are not speaking clearly, you have an accent, so, they are treating you differently because of your race, ethnicity or is it because of your disability status, and it is something that may be visible. Are they reacting to you differently because of that? It becomes a challenge to understand you know what is contributing, and it can take on a double effect, because you can have both. I will say, though, I had talked about one participant in particular who had shared with us, she was able to work in the United States, was a citizen, and she did have an accent, and was questioned by employers as she was seeking work whether she was able to work, whether she had the proper documentation. And it led us to believe it was because of the accent that the employer became suspicious. So, there are some challenges there.
Or triple jeopardy in her case, being female.
Absolutely, absolutely, very good point.
I wanted to add to that, although it is not in employment, this is Mike, I will be introduced in a second as the second speaker in the conference, but there is a study by Pew Hispanic Centers and I will mention, that believes that the quality of the Medicare that was attributed to poor by Hispanics, so they say that it was poor, that part of the reasons were, 31% was financial limitations, 29% was race and ethnicity, or 23% was their English, their lack of ability to speak English or their accent. And this is basically in receiving healthcare, not so much in employment, but I think it relates to as well on the employment side, so I wanted to bring that up.
It does, it does relate, yes. I would agree.
Thank you, Michael for this intervention. We want to go ahead and introduce Michael, and go back to those that also have questions. Okay, I have the pleasure to have with us today Michael Feldenkrais who is an attorney in Florida. Michael is the managing partner at the immigration law firm of Feldenkrais in Miami, Florida. And he regularly represents corporations and individuals in the quasi judicial and administrative proceedings. He is experienced in the preparation of legal documentation for all types of visa and has secured thousands of requests for multinational company and corporations. Mr. Feldenkrais has successfully obtained immigrant status for clients with and without labor certification and also represents individuals and family petitions and removal proceedings. Mr. Feldenkrais was instrumental in the drafting of the NACARA law which saved more than 500,000 people from being deported. Also, he has written and publicized numbers of articles for magazines, has produced and host over 100 seminars around the world. He also appears regularly in television and radio both as a consultant and host of these programs related to immigration. He currently gives the latest immigration news, and answer user questions in his website that is www.suenoamericanousa.com and he holds a degree in law, concentrated in international law. And he also is fluent in Spanish, and he, Mr. Feldenkrais, I have a hard time to pronounce your last name, but the time is yours and thank you again for be part of this session.
Thank you, Anel. Are we going back to go back to the questions that were pending or do you want me to go ahead and start?
Go ahead and we will have time to go back to the questions. Correct.
Thank you very much. For those whose name, my name is confusing, Frankenstein will do. Or Michael is fine. I wanted to give you guys a background on facts, and the reason I want to start there, on facts about undocumented workers okay. I wanted to start there, so that you can see the effect it has on documented workers. As was pointed out earlier, the issue of disability in the area of documented or undocumented workers is really reported under a scenario of more Hispanic population than or an immigrant or foreign-born population than it is as to a disability issue in and of itself. So it is very hard to find information on disability alone. You have to grab it from everywhere that there is information about undocumented workers. I grab most of my information from National Council of La Raza who prints out fact sheets every year on what is going on with the labor force in the United States, of undocumented and Latinos in that labor force. So, I want to go through some statistics. More than 15% of the US workers were born in other countries only 2/3 of those have authorization to work in the United States. 5.2% of the American labor force is undocumented, 56% of undocumented immigrants came from Mexico alone, although we established that it is a Latino problem, it is obviously immigration is not a Hispanic or Latino issue, although 56% is Mexican, there are a substantial amount of people from Asia, other countries, Europe, Africa, that are not part of the Hispanic population, but let''s deal with, obviously, the largest group. The influx of undocumented immigrants accounted for half the growth in the labor force over the last decade. In other words, there is 7.8 million workers that are undocumented, and in the last 10 years, in the last decade, half of the growth of the labor force was created by the influx of these undocumented immigrants. And that doesn''t mean that they are the ones who are doing the work, it means that the labor force itself increased, thanks to the influx of these people. Many studies show that immigrants have little to no impact on native born workers. But as we go through this discussion, you will see how they do impact in one way or another, to documented workers, Hispanics and the others. Immigrants who, those people who, well, let''s put it this way, one study suggested doubled immigrant labor force between 1990 and 2004 boosted the wages of native born high school and college graduates by 0.7% to 3.4%. This is a significant amount of increase in the wages that people that have nothing to do with the undocumented population have been increased by the fact that immigrants or undocumented population exists. However, despite all these positive impacts that we are mentioning here, undocumented workers are easily exploited and it converts them into a "second class". If you think disability is a second class, those that have undocumented scenario and have disabilities, we don''t know what to qualify them as, because they may be a third worker or fourth class in the worker scenario. This has caused that employers lower the floor on issues like health, safety, and wage protections for all workers. Simple, if there is undocumented workers coming into your job, and they are willing to do things that the other ones aren''t for less wages, what happens to the employer? The employer says hey, he is willing to do it, so I am going to reduce your salary or I am going to reduce your health benefits, or I am going to make my protections on safety a little bit less than what the standard should be. And that is one of the things that does occur as a result of it. There are several issues to discuss when it comes to undocumented workers in the United States, or workers that are Hispanic. And one of them is obviously languages, as was pointed out earlier. But most Spanish speakers understand the need to learn English. 52% of the foreign born Latinos living in the United States speak both English and Spanish, and 96% of them believe that teaching English to their children immigrants is very important. This is a very important statement. I mean you are looking at one of the biggest problems is the language as mentioned earlier. And they do want to learn English. What happens? The desire is so big that to learn, the desire is so big to learn, that in nation-wide, there is overcrowding and overbooking of English as a second language programs for adults. In some cities the wait time to appear, to get into one of these ESL classes is between three weeks sometimes to three years. Just to give you an example, New York City has a lottery program that turns away three out of four people that want to learn, that want to go to the ESL courses. And that is a substantial problem. Why? They can''t learn if they can''t learn even though the desire is there, they still get "discriminated" as one of the questions on the panel was earlier, as far as the data that we do have is that you know as far as medical treatment, that is one of their problems. Imagine that in the work environment, it is definitely a problem as well. However, most immigrants, whether documented or undocumented, and the majority of undocumented in this case pay taxes. And taxes becomes a very big issue. Why, how do I say that undocumented workers pay taxes? They pay 100% of the sales tax, they pay a 100% of any property tax they owe, most of them pay income tax and 75% of them pay payroll tax. Obviously the other 25% are getting paid under ways that are not on the payroll, so you will see that there is where the payroll comes off. But the income tax most people pay. Each year, $7 billion are paid to Social Security and $1.5 billion to Medicare, by people with incorrect or false Social Security numbers. That is a lot of money. Undocumented workers are ineligible for most government benefits. So where is all this money going? Most of them are educated abroad which didn''t cost the U.S. any money, and they are in the U.S. economy. The U.S. economy is reaping the rewards of their work. I mean all this money that we spent on education in the United States, they are not spending it on them, we are spending it on Americans and we are reaping the benefits of the American work and we are reaping the benefits of the undocumented and documented people who have been educated abroad. I thought that was an important aspect. Just to get an idea on a state, Texas, which has 13.9% of the undocumented immigrants paid about $424.7 million more in state revenues which include sales tax, schools tax and properties tax than what was used in state services, including education and healthcare. Undocumented workers in the U.S. labor force. Most undocumented workers work in low wage job that offer few employment benefits. This is where we get into complications. The median pay per week for Hispanics undocumented workers is $355, versus the median around nationwide is $671 per week. This is clear, fear of retaliation, and even deportation. This is what the result is of being undocumented okay. Studies say that 21% of those that receive no match letters by Social Security, Social Security started sending out no match letters saying your social security doesn''t match, you got to fire the employee or have them resolve the issue. Well, 21% of those said that they got fired not because of the no-match letter, but because of complaining about something else or including activities that they may have done with the union. And that is a significant problem. One of the problems that most undocumented have is that they no avenue to get to be documented, there is no visas available, family nor employment, the quotas are too small. 5,000 unskilled workers a year to become green card holders, that is a ridiculous amount when you have 8 million workers out there in the street and 12 million undocumented people living in the country. Federal enforcement of labor laws reveal that adherence to minimum wage and over time requirements has dropped over the last three decades. And that could possibly be combined because of the undocumented people in the workforce, where as I said earlier, they may be affecting the way documented workers receive their benefits themselves, because of their ability to do things that, or not complain the way that documented workers can. And those consequences are clear. They do not join peer groups in fighting for their rights, they divide the workforce in order to complain and employers tend to intimidate and discriminate on all the workers as a result of having undocumented workers. I wanted to reach something into the disability side, 51.2 million people had disability in 2002, I suppose that number has grown drastically, but of those with a severe disability with need of assistance, I wanted to give you the numbers so you have an understanding of where we are at. Asians and Pacific Islanders have 2.5% people with disabilities that need assistance, the black population is 4.7%, Hispanic is 2.9%, and the white non-Hispanic is around 4.7%. One of the disability that worries me most as a practitioner is obviously HIV and immigrants. This is the type of case I see most in my office. People that are persecuted in their home country and seek asylum based on HIV, people who have gotten HIV and have immigrated to the country have a bar, a ban against entering the county, a ban against travel, a ban against receiving any residents benefits in the United States. But I think they have a bigger problem. That ban is a result of a waiver requirement to obtain the residence. The waiver requirement says I need to have an immediate family member who is extremely prejudiced by my being deported, if you will, and I have to have, obviously, the insurance necessary to cover my illness, and I cannot become a public charge, unless of course, I was a refugee and I obtained a refugee asylum as a result of my HIV and so on and so forth. So, my question always is, what happens to those people who immigrated to this country, have been in this country, and obtained the HIV virus in the United States. And I have taken this to court several times. And I found myself that in one situation I have been able to win, the other ones I haven''t. Because the law and the statute in and of itself reads that they are not allowed to receive the benefit of residence unless they have this waiver and the waiver requires a family and immediate family member. Well, as we know, most HIV people either can''t get married or will not get married in order to "not to infect the spouse", you can''t have children, and the immediate family member scenario is not there. It just, it just can''t happen to this person. As a result you have this bar that is just too tough to overcome. Now, first week of August, President signed, and this is as a result of a lot of lobbying, and this is the example I want to give and I took it under this HIV issue because I think even though it is a disability it is one that is mostly "reported," out of all of them in the immigrant community, because there is a bar, there is a ban against it. And the law has changed. The law has changed and that is a result of us fighting, and fighting and trying to change it, and that is where I wanted to go. The first week of August, the President signed a reauthorization of the President''s emergency plan for AIDS relief. This law removes a provision of the immigration law which statutorily declared all non-citizens with HIV inadmissible to the United States. With this done now, the Department of Health and Human Services now has the authority to end the HIV ban on travel and immigration and they must now remove it from the list of communicable diseases of the public health significance. This whole bar is inside a law that is run by the HHS Department saying okay, these are communicable diseases, tuberculosis, et cetera and et cetera, HIV is one of the eight in that list. And as a result of the President signing this law, now they are giving the authority to the HHS to remove what they have been saying for 15 years is that AIDS is not a communicable disease and it is controllable, as a result they should remove it from that list. Now, the law has passed, now HHS has to remove it from the list of communicable diseases. And once they do, then the battle fought has been won. This is an example of one of the things that occurs in immigration, with undocumented or documented workers and disabilities and it is a fought battle and a won battle. I want to go to another law that recently passed, Senate passed the ADA Amendment on September 11 2008 which the President is expected to sign any day, which overturns the Supreme Court decision that had reduced the protections for certain people with disability under the narrow definition of the word which now includes all those people that had diabetes, cancer, bi-polar disorder, epilepsy, heart disease, mental disability, which the Supreme Court had reduced by defining the word disability without those categories. One of the biggest problems in disability, as Anel had spoken to before and has presented in front of other people, I saw a presentation that he made was one of these diseases which is diabetes is very high amongst Hispanic and Latino populations. So this will really help at least in protection from discrimination and employment, public accommodation and transportation to that group of people. And these are the things that are occurring in the law that hopefully, with the obviously the lobby and support of all these organization that help, will be able to continue in the right track towards reducing the discrimination based on disability. That is all I have for now, and I am open for questions.
Great, thank you so much, Michael. This is great and I think it is a very significant information that audience can take with them. We going to continue with our audio conference and have this section for Question and Answer. Operator, we want to go with the few of those questions that we put on hold, and also for anyone who has questions to Michael and go ahead. So Operator, go ahead with the, open the line for questions and please give us an instruction again.
Thank you. Once again, if you have questions, please press the one key on your touch-tone telephone. Our next question.
Yes, Dr. Hernandez, as you were making your presentation, I have got two questions. The one goes back to Slide number 7 and there you showed two different classes of physical disability, one being mobility, the other medical. What would be an example of the difference in those two types of disabilities?
That is a good question. When it comes to the medical we are really talking about those chronic illnesses. So diabetes which was mentioned by Michael would be an example of that. The physical would be more just any impairment you might have that is physically related, paralysis, anything like that within that category.
Okay, and the second question goes to Slide 9. You were talking about some of the employment barriers, and you said that for the lack of unreliable transportation, and you said that some folks experienced the jobs that were available in the area, but they had to go miles for jobs. I am not sure what I understand what that meant. If there were jobs available, why did they have to go miles for a job?
Just to clarify, there were jobs available, so lets say they are looking for jobs in the Chicago area, because that was where we had conducted our research, but they lived out in the suburbs of Chicago, which then made it very difficult for them to make that daily commute back and forth. One quote, it was someone from, who lived in the suburbs who used paratransit. And here is an example of some of the struggles they dealt with, she shared with us, it takes two hours to get home and two hours to get to work. So it is just an example of how distance can create a problem.
That would be true for all populations of people.
It would be.
Especially here in Chicago.
Great, thank you so much for your question. Operator, can we move to our next question?
Our next question.
Hello. I have comments first. We had sent some e-mail questions, will they be answered after this presentation or during the presentation?
We will try to cover during this presentation.
Okay, cause we did e-mailed them to you probably about a half hour ago.
Okay, we do look into that. Thank you.
Okay, the question I had was, going back to the slide on undocumented workers and the inability to receive VR services. Is it barred by federal law or by state law, or both, the ability to qualify and receive VR services?
This was from the perceptions of our participants, so it is not that it is factually based, but it was the belief of those undocumented workers who were in our focus groups, who shared with us that they were ineligible for those services.
So, what is the law on that then?
I don''t know specifically the law. Michael, you probably can answer that better than I could, but that was their perception.
I am sorry, I missed it.
Okay, the perception of undocumented workers in the focus groups were that they were unable to receive services. And I am asking is that true? Is there a legal bar to receiving VR services from either federal or state law?
There is no, as far as I am unaware, can''t answer that one in and of itself, I do know that undocumented workers are definitely not eligible to receive it.
Okay, so they have citizenship requirements?
They have legal status requirements, work permit, work authorization, same requirements, I dont even know if without your green card, you will have that benefit. I believe that benefit goes with the green card, which means residents.
Okay, thank you.
I dont think it applies, it applies to residents, citizens, but I do not believe it applies to non-immigrant population whether legal or undocumented.
Maam, if you have the e-mail handy with you, you can go ahead and ask your questions.
This comes from a volunteer in our office.
I am not too sure who she is asking the questions of. Just a moment please. Why aren''t you reading in Spanish, and what are your plans about getting handouts translated?
The handout itself, if it is available in Spanish?
Yes, it is available?
No, it is not available in Spanish.
Will it be available in Spanish?
You mean the one that we providing for this audio conference?
Yes, upon request, we are happy to have it available in Spanish.
That is your question?
I think that she is asking what is the view of a Hispanic with the disability as to one without a disability, our, what is a person''s view? Was that question asked?
Is that question for me? Is that correct?
She is directing it at you, yes.
Okay, can you clarify that question just a bit more for me?
Are they treated differently? Anything else? As to employment.
Okay, so Latino versus non-Latino, are they treated differently by employers?
Hispanic with a disability, one without a disability.
Without a disability. You know, that is when I was talking about the double jeopardy in terms of it is difficult to tease apart, in our focus group we had individuals who had both. The Latino status in terms of race, ethnicity, but also had the disability. So, we didn''t compare it to Latinos who were non-disabled. What we do know is that for those who are disabled, and Latino, the employment figure is much lower when we compare them particularly with the overall population, but even within the disability community itself. And at least within this focus group they spoke about those barriers related, not only to their disability status and how employers were treating them, but also to their race ethnicity. I don''t know if that fully gets at her question, we didn''t do a comparison study. We didnt compare those with and without disabilities but I would imagine that yes, the experiences are unique, they spoke about the disability being perceived by employers in a negative way.
Combined to that, I think that the obviously, the what the Pew Hispanic Center brought out as far as healthcare as opposed to job, which I mentioned earlier with the accent being 23% as to one of the reason why they got poor medical care, I think that you can attribute that fact to employment as well, language being, or the accent or the English accent can be a detriment besides the disability, towards getting a job or obtaining a job or maintaining a job. So yes, I agree with that it would probably be very different of an effect, and a detrimental one to that.
And add on with, she has a communication disability as well, which is an entirely different barrier to employment, healthcare. Many of the things that people with disabilities can access who can speak without having someone assist.
Well, thanks so much for the question, great. Operator, can we move to the next question?
Thank you, our next question.
Hello, and Dr. Hernandez I was curious if you found any differences based on gender when you looked at the employment barriers?
No, nothing, nothing jumped out at us, with the exception and I didnt present this data of child care. We did have 11% of our participants speak about child care issues and they happen to be the women participants. It is I mentioned at the beginning, this particular sample we had males overrepresented. So you have to wonder if we had more females in this group, and actually targeted questions toward them, in particular whether the findings would have been a bit more pronounced when it came to gender. But with child care at least, we had 11% of our female participants and there were 15 total, speak to difficulties with employment because of child care.
Thank you for the question. Before we move to another question, we have an online question. This is for Michael. Michael, the question said: Does the employer have to provide a legitimate reason before they fire an immigrant employee with disability, compared with not immigrant employees?
No. There are, depends obviously on each state. Because each state is run on the laws of the state will run as to how to whether it is at-will or for-cause employment. And if it is a for-cause state, then yes, they would have to provide a reason. But where you have states that the firing of an employee is at-will, you will not find a reason for the loss of your job. And as a result of that, you will not know whether it is disability based or immigration based or any of the other categories.
Thank you, Operator, can we move to our next question?
Thank you, our next question.
Yes, Dr. Hernandez, a couple of questions for you. On your Slide 9 on the employment barriers. If we take the ones that look like they are more generic, lack of or unreliable transportation, lack of formal education, negative employer attitudes, I don''t have the data sets in front of me, but are those comparable to the experiences of all people with disabilities?
Absolutely, yes. You are very true in saying that because we had held other groups, I had mentioned at some point with the African American community, also with Caucasians with disabilities, and we also did a survey, so there was actually a multi-part study. And what we found was these barriers are true regardless of your race/ethnicity and are experienced by the disability community as a whole. But when we look at sort of degree of severity of these problems it is greater for Latinos and African-Americans and that is actually another study that I conducted that was more survey based. So although true for all three groups, when we looked at racial and ethnic minorities they are even more pronounced.
Thank you, and I have a follow-up question on the VR data, well that is not yours so you may not be able to answer it.
Okay, I will try my best.
But, is the sample of Latino VR clients, the information I will ask a different way. Are Latinos with disabilities proportionately represented consistent with the population demographics in the VR case loads? Maybe that is a better way to ask.
With the Hayward and Schmidt-Davis study? Is that the one that you are referring to?
I would have to dig in that study cause it is not mine. I am not sure. I would have to dig to see if they are at the 12%, is that what you are asking?
I am not sure.
Thank you for the question.
And Anel, can we get Michael''s e-mail, phone number, some connection point to him?
You can either go to the website, there is a contact us there, or I can give you.
That is fine, thank you.
Thank you. Operator, can we move to the following question?
Thank you. We have two more questions in the queue. Our next question.
Hi Anel, thanks for the chance to ask the question. I apologize, I stepped out for a minute, but was there a distinction between documented and undocumented workers, because in your study, primarily because for example some of the negative attitudes might be skewed by employers and some attitudes there based on the perceptions. Was that considered or is that or was that a factor in your survey?
Can you ask the question one more time, so that I can make sure I have a good handle of it?
Sure. Basically, in your survey, I was wondering, you know it says that the 24% negative employers attitudes towards workers with disabilities, 11% negative attitudes towards Latinos, of those people you know that they are referring to, was there a distinction made between documented and undocumented workers?
Got it. No, there wasnt. So it was the group as a whole, the 45 participants. What was interesting, and I think this probably happens, I wouldnt say to a great degree with focus group research, but I have found it at least with the focus groups I have conducted is there isn''t much done in the area of undocumented workers. I think as researchers we need to do a better job of addressing those unique needs and issues. When I had conducted this study, we were just seeking Latinos with disabilities period. We didn''t specify that we wanted documented, undocumented. It only happened towards the end of the focus groups that people felt a bit more comfortable, a bit more at ease, that they then would reveal, by the way, I am someone who is undocumented and here are the issues I have been encountering. And there weren''t many that self-disclosed that, but there were a handful that did. So when it comes to those two percentages that you presented we don''t have it broken down by undocumented or documented. When we had heard issues related to undocumented workers it was done in a very spontaneous way, typically towards the end of the focus group where they felt much more comfortable with the participants and with the facilitators to disclose that information.
You will find that as being the case across the board. Very hard for you to find information on the undocumented world, as a result of the fact they are undocumented and the fear of retaliation and deportation is there. So it is going to be very hard, now and for as long as they remain undocumented to get a good answer on that as well.
I have to say, it is a challenge I think for the research community to really get a handle of the issues they are experiencing and their needs. Like I said, we didn''t go in with that intent, but by end of the research we realized that there was almost another study within a study.
Great. Thank you for this great discussion. Operator, can we go to our next question?
Certainly, our next question is a follow-up.
Please check your mute button. Did you have a question?
Can you hear us now?
I am sorry. Dr. Hernandez, I wanted to know out of the 11% of workers that you had in your focus group that were working, am I correct?
Were you able to find out the salaries that they are making now, the types of jobs that they are holding, and if there were any of them had any room for growth and promotion? Because one of the things we are finding is that even if we do get people in our disability community hired, employers are not promoting them, because they are saying they are so dependable, we want to keep them in that job and it is kind of like a double edged sword.
It is a very interesting statement you made, only because in another study that we just wrapped up, we found that to be the case, that workers with disabilities were rarely promoted. At least those who were open with their disability and disclosed it. With this particular study, they were for the most part in these entry-level positions, and there wasn''t, at least we didn''t hear much movement up. And I am going to assume it wasnt there or else they would have talked about it within the focus groups. But I am referring to another study, you might want to look at disabilityworks.org, where it was a cost benefit study that we had dome with workers with and without disabilities. And there focus groups that were conducted and our employers spoke too, so it wasn''t even from the employee end, but the employers acknowledging that they had not done enough to promote their workers, their existing workers with disabilities.
Yes, that they and they felt it was two-sided. They felt they didn''t do enough to do it, to increase the promotability, but they also felt that the employees got comfortable with their positions and were fine with their jobs and weren''t seeking to move up. But we also saw from the flip side that they weren''t necessarily enhancing these opportunities either. So I think you made an excellent point, and it is one that I think again as researchers, when we look at employment issues and barriers, that issue of promotion needs to be looked at. I think we are doing a better job of late but it is one that needs to be looked at more closely.
Dr. Hernandez, your study or this study that you are speaking from, you said it is available?
It is available. Anel, is there a way that we can, I can get that information to you? That you then can disseminate to the group?
Yes, we can post it after the conference.
Okay. It is published in a journal, and I will get that information to Anel.
Wonderful. Thank you, thank you for the question. Again, we also received another question, and I think this is for Michael. Michael, the question said, it is starting with a statement, it says: many states have enacted laws to crackdown on employers engage in abusing, trafficking of immigrants workers against their will including in states like Florida, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina and Texas which make public benefits available to undocumented immigrants who are trafficking victims. Do these type of state legislations also protect the rights of immigrants who get injured at the job then become disabled?
No, the type of legislation you are talking about is basically for smuggling, if you will. And although employer sanctions are there to employers, there is no same types of benefits that people receive from reporting smuggling issues.
Okay, thanks so much. Operator, do we have someone else in the line with questions?
Yes, actually we do.
I was going to ask about how to get Dr. Hernandez''s study, but if you guys are going to post that later, that will be fine, that was my question. And is the study available in Spanish?
No, the study is published in a journal, and it is in English.
Okay, thank you.
You are welcome.
Great, thank you. Again, we have received another question. It said, I think it is related also to the one we had before. It said, over the last few years, quite a few states have pioneered programs and laws to positively integrate new immigrants into our community and address citizens, economic field with raise, wage and standards for everyone, immigrants and native workers alike, do you know if this legislation also applies for immigrants with disabilities? Michael?
It should, it should definitely apply to immigrants with disability. I do not know 100%, but it should.
Okay, wonderful. Alright, Operator, we can move on to any other questions, if we have, online.
Thank you, we do have one more question, however I would like to give a final call. Once again, if you have a question please press the 1 key.
Hi and I want to know if you happen to know how many tickets have been distributed to Latinos, is there any way to know that?
What type of tickets?
Tickets, through the Ticket to Work legislation, so that would be Social Security benefit. How many Social Security beneficiaries that are on disability benefits are Latino?
You know, I don''t know if that data is even available. I know that they give it overall for the nation, and then they give it by state. But I don''t know if it is broken down by race or ethnicity. My recollection going on that site was that it wasn''t broken down. But what I could say is that Latinos with disabilities, when they do get that ticket, at times they did not get it in Spanish, even though there was a Spanish version available. And at other times they got very confused. But that was true actually for, again because we had conducted these focus groups with African Americans and with whites, it was just true across the boards, that there was this great misunderstanding about the tickets they had received in the mail. And that is referenced in this article that Anel is going to give you the reference for. So although, the spirit of the Ticket to Work program sounds good, how it was implemented in terms of these tickets were being mailed to peoples homes, what the ticket even looked like, created a great deal of confusion. The language that was used in the ticket, that was another issue that had come up that we heard about quite a bit in the focus group. I dont know if that really gets at your question directly but I do know that there were participants who had received it and were frankly confused by it.
Okay, thank you.
Great. Michael, I think this is a very interesting question, and I wanted to before we wrap up this session. And it said, if the immigrant have become injured on the job then become disabled, but at time of the injury the worker was working for a private contractor who did not have a workers compensation insurance, what he or she should do?
Depends on if he is documented or undocumented. Did the question specify?
No, it doesn''t specify, if it is a, just says an immigrant.
Okay, all immigrants are, immigrants whether documented or non-documented, have a all in other words workers comp is workers comp, and it doesn''t matter whether you are legal or illegal, or you are immigrant or you are not an immigrant. There is one issue that I did find interesting. And that is that most injuries to undocumented workers, obviously go unreported at the workplace. And the workplace fatalities are disproportionately high for Hispanic workers. That alone is a problem because they fear that they are going to be retaliated but if they have no fear, then all they will go ahead and file those workers comps claims. They should file them anyway, because they all do have a workers compensation claim and that has nothing to do with their immigrant status. Hope that answers the question.
Great, thanks so much. Well, I think our time is almost over, I am going to have our colleague, Claudia Diaz to finish with the session.
All right, thank you Anel. I just want to take this opportunity to thank our Speakers for the time that they spent with us today and their willingness to share the information. I also want to remind people that this session was recorded and will be archived with the transcript posted on the website. I also want to remind people to complete the evaluation forms and fax that back to us. Our fax number is 312-413-1856. If we did not get to your question, you can call your local ADA center at 800-949-4232, or you can send us an e-mail directly to firstname.lastname@example.org to address your questions that are left pending. This session also concludes the series, 2007/2008 Audio Conference Series, this is the last one for this year. In October we will start the new 12 month series. We will start the series with an ADA Case Law Update, and that one will be October 21. The courts and federal agencies are shaping the ADA through decisions and settlements and this session will outline the key issues that are currently before the court, as well as discuss some trends in cases at lower courts which have an impact on decisions at all levels including any future cases to be argued before the Supreme Court. Discussion of the potential impact of ADA Amendments Act will also be included in that session. So, the new schedule is posted. We are working to finalize all the details, but you can view the schedule with the topic and dates on the website after the session. Our website is www.ada-audio.org And so I invite you to take a look at the session topics as we are including this year an employment series as well as state and local government series. Registration is going to open on Monday, September 22 for the new year, available online. So, keep checking back on our website as we update the schedule with other details on our website. And again, I want to thank our Speakers today, and I want to thank everyone for joining us, and we hope that you have a good rest of the day. Enjoy the session and thank you everyone. Take care. Thank you.
Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for your participation in today''s conference. This concludes the program, you may all disconnect. Everyone have a great day.