Protect our Families from Immigration Bias and Stigma

National leaders in the movement for women’s rights and equality are condemning Arizona’s new law that promotes stigma, bias, and blatant profiling of women immigrants.  We call on women’s rights supporters everywhere to oppose this new law, and we commend President Barack Obama and Senate leadership for continuing to support the need for comprehensive immigration reform.

“Arizona’s new immigration law fails to acknowledge the reality of women immigrants, and, instead, promises to tear families apart,” according to Silvia Henriquez, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health. “Over half of immigrants are women and they are increasingly likely to be primary breadwinners and family caretakers.  This law targets women and families.”
The National Coalition for Immigrant Women’s Rights steering committee is comprised of three leading national organizations, the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF), Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health.  Together, we call on the Obama administration and policy makers to create family-friendly immigration policies, health care reforms, and labor protections on behalf of immigrant women as part of Comprehensive Immigration Reform.
“This Arizona law is aimed at legalizing the harassment of Latinas, and promises to further increase stigma and bias against all women who are perceived to be immigrant,” said Miriam Yeung, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum.  “Women’s and civil rights’ supporters everywhere must make the rights and dignity of immigrant women a top priority this year.”
“Immigrant women are the backbone of our communities. They bring in incomes that make it more likely for their families to open small businesses, purchase homes and contribute to the American economy. This law will create rampant racial profiling that will be devastating for immigrant women in Arizona. It will re-create the kind of intolerance and hatred that our nation left behind years ago,” added Maria Robalino of Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
Women immigrants play a central role in their families and communities. A role reflected by the recent data:

U.S. Census Bureau indicates more than half of all immigrants are women
New America Media identified a trend of immigrant women as primary breadwinners and family caretakers.
In addition, 90 percent of Hispanic children in the US are American citizens; 62 percent of Hispanic children in the US have at least one immigrant parent.
Data also shows that immigrant women are often the ones to initiate the citizenship process for their families.

Unfortunately, current family immigration policies create tremendous backlogs, particularly among Asian & Pacific Islanders immigrants, destroying the lives of women and families in the process.
“The Arizona law shows us that fear and misguided frustration targets vulnerable women immigrants and traumatizes their children – and when this happens, everyone loses,” added the Steering Committee members of the National Coalition for Immigrant Women’s Rights.  “Comprehensive Immigration Reform that unifies rather than divides is the only way to protect all American families.”
Photo credit: National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health. Please contact Camino PR at 212.255.2575 for a high-resolution copy of the photo.
To learn more about the coalition and about immigrant women, please visit

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