Immigrant women’s advocates announce principles for inclusive, humane immigration reform

Today, the National Coalition for Immigrant Women’s Rights (NCIWR) and organizations concerned with women’s rights across the country released Statement of Principles on Women and Immigration Reform.

“As Congress and the White House move to reform our immigration laws, it is imperative that policymakers recognize the contributions of immigrant women and address the needs of our communities,” notes Jessica González-Rojas, executive director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH). González-Rojas adds, “Women’s issues have been marginalized in previous debates and discussions around immigration reform. This Statement of Principles asserts a vision for immigration reform that is inclusive of, and responsive to, the unique needs of immigrant women and their families.”

The Statement of Principles, endorsed by more than 200 local, state and national organizations representing immigrant rights, reproductive health and justice, children’s health and rights, labor and workers’ rights, civil rights, faith, and LGBT rights, calls for the inclusion of women in all aspects of immigration reform, including:

a fair roadmap to citizenship that is inclusive, affordable, safe and accessible to all immigrant women;
equal employment-based migration opportunities for women and workplace protections;
sufficient opportunities for all families to stay together;
access to health care, public benefits and economic supports;
an end to enforcement, detention and deportation policies that undermine women’s due process, civil rights and human rights and undermine the safety of communities and tear families apart;
enhanced protections for women fleeing state and interpersonal violence.

“As we await the President’s statement on the need to move immigration reform forward, we are hopeful that policymakers will take into account the negative impact of our current immigration laws and practices on women, families, and communities,” notes Miriam Yeung, executive director of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF), steering committee member of NCIWR.

Yesterday, a bipartisan committee in the Senate, which includes Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and John McCain (R-AZ), released its framework for immigration reform. “We applaud the Senate for taking a bold step toward immigration reform, yet are concerned that the bipartisan proposal leaves many women out,” notes Michelle Brané of the Women’s Refugee Commission, also a member of NCIWR’s steering committee. Brané adds, “As currently written, the framework would preserve existing gender inequalities in our immigration system by failing to provide women an equal opportunity to apply for citizenship, and preferencing employment-based migration over expanded opportunities for family unity.”

“As policy proposals are developed, we look forward to working with leaders in Congress and the White House, as well as our allies on the ground, to mobilize and advocate for immigration laws that advance immigrant women’s rights and strengthen our communities,” adds Yeung.

The full Statement of Principles on Women and Immigration Reform can be viewed at the website of the National Coalition for Immigrant Women’s Rights (NCIWR).


The National Coalition for Immigrant Women’s Rights is the leading national collaboration to specifically focus on women and gender issues in the public discourse on immigration. The coalition represents more than 70 leading organizations with a presence nationally and in every state. For more information about the National Coalition for Immigrant Women’s Rights, please visit


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