November 20, 2013

A Feminist Call For Immigration Reform, As Momentum Stalls in Congress

The women’s rights community is not giving up on immigration reform.

Though the bill that hurtled the Senate is likely dead in the water in the House, women’s groups took to the National Press Club on Tuesday to focus attention on the impact immigrant laws have on women—using the star power of feminist activist and author Gloria Steinem to propel them forward.

“A vote against immigration reform, or inaction on this issue,” said Pramila Jayapal, the co-chair of the women’s immigration group We Belong Together, “is really a vote against women, children, and families.”

Women make up about 51% of the immigrant population, according to the Census.“The truth of the matter is,” Steinem said Tuesday, “there is an unrealistic portrayal of who immigrants really are.”

Senator Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Congressman Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.) were also among Tuesday’s speakers. Hirono said a number of women’s issues aren’t taken into account in reform legislation. Though there are provisions geared directly at easing citizenship for those employed in the science, technology and agriculture fields, there are no protections for domestic workers, the majority of whom are women.

“Our new immigration system is inadvertently disadvantaging women,” said Sen. Hirono, who voted in favor of the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Act in June. Royal-Allard, on the other hand, just wants an opportunity to vote on the bill. “Let’s at least get a vote,” she said. “If we get a change to vote in the House, it will pass.”

Read the entire piece here:

By:  Maya Rhodan
Source: TIME Magazine