Women’s groups urge progress on immigration reform
Today, the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH) joined 162 groups representing women’s health and rights, reproductive justice, civil rights, faith, worker’s rights, LGBTQ, and immigrant rights in urging the House of Representatives to make progress on immigration reform that advances women’s health and rights.
The letter, addressed to House leadership, welcomes the recent introduction of H.R.15, a comprehensive bill for immigration reform to the House of Representatives. The bill, introduced earlier this month, advances many comprehensive, sensible, and humane solutions that improve immigration policies in ways that treat women and children fairly. The letter also addresses the several gaps in H.R.15 for women’s health and rights, including the costly and counterproductive barriers imposed on women’s contribution to and participation in affordable health coverage options. Lastly, groups call for improvements in the bill and urge the House of Representatives to bring the best possible bill for women and families to the floor for a vote.
Jessica González-Rojas, executive director of NLIRH issued the below statement:
“With every day that passes, the need to enact common sense, inclusive immigration reform that works for women and families grows stronger. We welcome the introduction of H.R.15, as the bill advances many important solutions to our nation’s immigration laws and policies that take into account the perspectives and needs of immigrant women and families. We also urge Congress to work in a bipartisan fashion to address gaps in H.R.15, including the imposition of costly and counterproductive barriers to affordable health coverage for aspiring citizen women and families who will be working, paying taxes, and contributing even more than they already do to our nation’s economy.”
While H.R.15 advances many important solutions to our nation’s immigration laws and policies, the bill would force women and families to wait up to 15 years or more before they are eligible for affordable health coverage programs, like Medicaid, which are supported by their taxpayer dollars. The restrictions in H.R. 15 mirror those in S. 744, the Senate-approved bill for comprehensive immigration reform, which Senators Hirono (D-HI), Boxer (D-CA), and others sought to address through the amendment process. After the Senate vote on S. 744, over 400 groups expressed concern with the bill’s barriers to health and family economic security programs.
The restrictions have also been opposed by numerous women’s health and reproductive justice groups, as the restrictions undermine health and opportunity for women and entire families and communities. In August, Latinas across the country mobilized to oppose the 15-year wait imposed in S. 744 and to support immigrant women’s health. Additionally, policies that advance the health of immigrant communities have widespread support: several polls have demonstrated that the majority of Americans support greater participation of immigrants in affordable health insurance programs.
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.