Unfinished Business

Five Things to Know About Women and Immigration Reform

Taahira Thompson, Summer 2013 Leadership Conference Education Fund Intern

The impact of immigration reform in the United States will be felt by millions of new Americans who courageously risked their welfare to seek freedom and opportunity in the United States. As the five facts below illustrate, common sense immigration reform will be especially meaningful to women and families.

  1. Immigrant women are major contributors to the U.S economy. Many of these women are educated with advanced degrees and are more likely to own their own businesses than their American born counterparts. Despite their continued contributions to the country, they are less likely to receive visas for their highly skilled labor.
  2. Women represent more than half of the documented and undocumented immigrant population. Also, nearly a fourth of the U.S farm worker population is comprised of women.
  3. Women are often the pillars of a family and are essential members of the community. Many immigrant women have a relative or child in the United States. Strict deportation laws often separate children and families. This puts a strain on the foster care system and is detrimental to the lives and well-being of U.S citizen children.
  4. Immigrant women face increased levels of discrimination, particularly in the workforce. They are at a higher risk of abuse and manipulation. Employers often use immigration status as a means of control over their employees.
  5. Compared to American-born women, immigrant women are less likely to have access to adequate healthcare. This includes STD testing, reproductive care, sexual education and prenatal care. This situation also keeps their potential children, who would be legal U.S citizens, from receiving essential in-womb care.

This post is a part of the YWCA USA’s What Women Want blog carnival about immigration reform. Read all of the posts and join the National Day of Action on June 6.