By Tralonne Shorter
Senior Advocacy & Policy Associate for Racial Justice and Civil Rights
Without question, immigration reform is one of the most pivotal civil rights issues of our day. Women are increasingly becoming the face of the immigrant population in the United States. They now make up 51% of the immigrant population; 100 immigrant women arrive in the United States for every 96 men. Unaccompanied child migrants fleeing violence in Central America are expected to reach 96,000 by the end of the year.
The partisanship among Washington lawmakers has not only stopped action on comprehensive immigration reform for this year but also has taken a devastating toll on countless immigrant families, especially women. Immigrant women face increased barriers to safety net services. While one in four women are victims of domestic violence, a national cap of 10,000 U-Visas limit the number of immigrant victims of domestic violence and human trafficking from fleeing abuse.
Immigration reform is the pathway to liberating domestic violence victims by increasing access to U-Visas and allowing victims to petition directly for legal status without relying on an abusive spouse. Without an increase in U-Visas, domestic violence and trafficked victims are subject to remain in progressively violent situations that may lead to death. Additionally, immigration reform offers refuge to thousands of families fleeing countries ravaged by violence.
It is unacceptable for common-sense immigration reform policy to have languished in Congress for more than one year while immigrant women and children victimized by violence are held hostage to partisanship. Every day we wait for Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform, an estimated 1,100 aspiring Americans are deported. Sadly, current deportation totals have reached an all-time high of two million under any president’s tenure. Our country’s growing immigration crisis has become a moral crisis of leadership and character.
We look forward to working with President Obama and Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform legislation that grants citizenship to the 11 million aspiring Americans, ensures due process, the humane detainment, and safe reunification of our immigrant brothers and sisters who are simply seeking compassion beyond refuge.
As one of the oldest women’s rights organizations and the largest provider of domestic violence shelters in the United States, with over 1,300 locations across the country, the YWCA USA is deeply invested in ensuring that comprehensive immigration reform factors in the unique needs of women. Please join us and take action to get comprehensive immigration reform passed in Congress.
YWCA Fact Sheets
- YWCA USA Letter to the House Supporting Passage of the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act (H.R. 15)
- YWCA USA Letter to Congress on Passing the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 (S.744)
- Why We Need Fair, Comprehensive Immigration Reform Now
Tralonne Shorter is the Senior Advocacy and Policy Associate for Racial Justice and Civil Rights at the YWCA USA. She is a social justice advocate with a distinguished 17-year career having worked as a non-profit government relations consultant, lobbyist, and senior adviser to various elected officials. Throughout her career, she has worked extensively on major social justice issues addressing domestic violence, immigration reform, racial profiling, workforce development, and civic engagement.
This post is part of the YWCA Week Without Violence™ 2014 Blog Carnival. We invite you to join the dialogue! Post your comment below, share your story and follow the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #workagainstviolence.