National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health leaders arrested in act of civil disobedience for immigration reform

Today, hundreds of women gathered on Capitol Hill to urge Congress to take action and pass an inclusive and common-sense immigration reform bill that addresses the concerns of women and families. Following the rally, many of these women, including Jessica González-Rojas, executive director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, and Kimberly Inez McGuire, associate director for government relations and public affairs, were arrested for their participation in a peaceful act of civil disobedience.
“Our actions today in Washington are a direct counter to policymakers’ passivity,” said González-Rojas. “Immigrant women are often the backbone of their communities — caring for families and earning wages — yet they continue to be ignored by immigration policy reform. The 20 million immigrant women in this country deserve basic human rights, including access to affordable health care. We refuse to let them be marginalized any longer.”
As advocates for Latina health, NLIRH recognizes the ways immigrant women are cut off from their full potential because they lack access to affordable reproductive and preventive health care. Under the Senate’s proposed immigration reform bill, immigrants may have to wait up to 15 years for health care, a wait NLIRH believes is unacceptable.
“Today, we dedicate this action to every immigrant woman who lives in the shadows and is unable to get the care she needs to be healthy and successful,” said Inez McGuire.
“Contrary to what many people think, the majority of immigrant women face severe restrictions on accessing affordable health care and insurance, and many have zero options for obtaining screenings for breast and cervical cancer, family planning and HIV/AIDS testing and treatment,” said González-Rojas. “These are life and death issues affecting immigrant women and absolutely worth standing up for. The House must pass an immigration reform bill that ensures that all Latinas have the basic human right to health care,” González-Rojas said.
The September 12 action gathered women from across the country and the globe to demand an immigration reform bill that:

Includes a path to citizenship.
Keeps families together and upholds the family immigration system.
Provides protections for survivors of violence and against workplace abuses.
Protects the health and well-being of women and children.
Honors women’s work inside and out of the home.
Is not driven by a focus on enforcement.

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The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health is the only national organization working on behalf of the reproductive health and justice of the 24 million Latinas, their families and communities in the United States through public education, community mobilization and policy advocacy.
We Belong Together is an initiative of the National Domestic Workers Alliance and the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum and aims to mobilize women in support of common-sense immigration reform that will keep families together and empower women. Women’s organizations, immigrant rights groups, children, and families across the country support the initiative.

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