In Response to Congressional Attacks on Executive Action, Immigrant Women Present a Common Sense Way Forward

We Belong Together “Heart of the Matter” Report Suggests 6 Steps for Advancing Immigration Policy

Washington, DC – As couples and spouses prepare to celebrate their love this Valentine’s day weekend, We Belong Together issues its newly updated report, Heart of the Matter: Women, Children, and the Way Forward on Immigration Policy.

The newly updated report evaluates the likely benefits of executive action for immigrant women and families and demonstrates the need for additional steps for both the White House and Congress to take with featured profiles of women actually impacted by current policies.

“The President’s executive action was a leap forward for this country. Unfortunately, after wasting many opportunities to enact legislative reform of the immigration system, Congress is now advancing tired and outdated enforcement-only approaches and attacking women and children, such as the individuals highlighted in Heart of the Matter who are mothers, workers and survivors. These attacks are mean-spirited distractions,” explains Andrea Mercado, co-chair of We Belong Together, “The temporary and limited nature of executive action leaves much more for Congress to do to promote family reunification, fairness for women workers, and restore justice in the immigration system.”

Heart of the Matter outlines six focus areas for elected officials to address:

  • Implement administrative relief to ensure access for undocumented women and pass legislation that creates a broad and clear roadmap to citizenship for all members of the undocumented community;

  • Reunify families separated by the family visa backlogs;

  • Protect families and ensure due process;

  • Honor the contributions of women workers;

  • Enhance protections for survivors of violence against women; and

  • Reform the costly, inefficient and inhumane detention system and end the practice of detaining families.

Citing a recent New York Times magazine exposé, Sameera Hafiz of We Belong Together argues the urgent need for the report recommendations to be adopted. “The reopening of family detention centers is an anomaly in recent immigration policy that should be ringing alarm bells for anyone who cares for the well-being of children. The harm is irreparable and the practice is unnecessary.”

Referring to additional recommendations in the report, Hafiz continues, “The Administration has the opportunity and responsibility to broaden the scope of individuals who benefit from executive action on immigration. President Obama should ensure that families unnecessarily separated by the visa backlogs are able to reunite and that immigrant women without children, or whose children are still in their country of origin, are protected from deportation.”

The report can be found here: http://www.webelongtogether.org/new-report-the-heart-of-the-matter-women….

Interviews with advocates and those whose stories are featured available upon request.

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We Belong Together is an initiative of the National Domestic 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 policies that will keep families together and empower women. Immigration 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 We Belong Together policy priorities is available at: http://www.webelongtogether.org.