Thursday, January 30, 2014
From We Belong Together:
Today House Republicans released their principles on immigration reform, a document meant to inform – or justify – their piecemeal approach to immigration reform in 2014. The principles call for intensified border security and interior enforcement, a worker verification system for employers, increased work visas for high-tech and agricultural workers, and a path to earned legal status – but not citizenship – for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S.
The principles stand as a counter proposal to the comprehensive immigration reform bill the Senate passed 68-32 in 2013 with broad support from American voters. House Speaker John Boehner has made clear that he has no intention of going to conference with the Senate bill, further confirming that the policies to emerge from the House Republicans’ principles will dramatically depart from the Senate bill. In response, Pramila Jayapal, co-director of We Belong Together, a national campaign to win immigration reform that will be fair for women and families, issued the following statement:
“The House Republican principles on immigration reform would prevent millions of women from gaining legal status, keeping their families together, and contributing their full potential to communities across the country.
“By failing to call for a pathway to citizenship, ignoring backlogs in the family visa system, and proposing only narrow fixes that would benefit industries with predominantly male workforces, any legislation guided by the House Republican principles would exclude millions of women and their families.
“A majority in Congress – and the majority of voters in this country – agree that we need a comprehensive solution for America’s undocumented immigrants and a fair system for those to come. Women across the country are demanding solutions that will keep families together and allow women to fully share their many contributions to this country. Women make up over half of all immigrants to the U.S., and represent 53% of the electorate, yet are systematically excluded by these principles. House Republicans can and must do better. If House Republicans continue to ignore the calls of women across the country, women will remember at the ballot box in November.
“House Republicans’ proposed fixes to the work visa system focus only on agricultural and high tech workers, denying the fact that the fastest growing industries are those that primarily employ women. Nearly 60% of undocumented women work in the informal economy, as domestic workers, caregivers and other high-demand professions that help this country run. In less than 20 years, 75 million Americans will have reached retirement age, and the demand for direct-care workers is projected to increase by 48% over the next decade. Our nation’s immigration policies must recognize this economic reality and support the workforce meeting those needs – immigrant women.
“The House Republican principles also ignore the fact that 4.3 million people are waiting years—even decades—in the family visa system, the system under which nearly 70% of all women immigrants are able to obtain legal status. Furthermore, over 5.5 million children—most of whom are U.S. citizens—are currently at risk of losing a parent to deportation, and House Republican principles fail to address the deportation crisis that tears families apart daily. The principles also leave out critical protections for women who experience violence at home or in the workplace and for asylum seekers.
“Through the We Belong Together campaign, women across the country will continue to organize and advocate for real, comprehensive solutions that will meet the needs—and honor the contributions—of women and families, and truly be in the best interest of the nation.
About WeBelong Together
We Belong Together is an initiative of the NationalDomestic Workers Alliance and the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, with the participation of women’s organizations immigrant rights groups, children, and families across the country. It is a campaign to mobilize women in support of common-sense immigration reform that will keep families together and empower women. Immigration reform is rarely thought of as a women’s issue, but in fact it is central to the fight for women’s equality. Millions of immigrant women who are part of the fabric of our communities, workplaces, and schools are blocked from achieving their full potential because of a broken immigration system A full list of WBT policy priorities is available at: http://www.webelongtogether.org/policy-goals.