Photo: Immigrant Women's Rights
The National Coalition for Immigrant Women’s Rights (NCIWR) applauds a new Obama Administration immigration policy, as it will advance family unity and integration for immigrant women and their families.
“As advocates for immigrant women, we see the new immigration policy announced this week as a step in the right direction for immigrant women, who are the backbones of immigrant communities across the country,” notes Miriam Yeung, Executive Director of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF), Steering Committee Member of NCIWR alongside the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH).
The new rule issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (HHS) allows undocumented immigrants who are applying for permanent residency to file a “hardship waiver” demonstrating that separation from their families would cause extreme hardship. If approved, applicants can remain in the U.S. while applying for residency. Prior to the changes, applicants would have to return to their birth country and may be barred from entering the United States for ten years or more.
“Although immigrant women contribute to the great social, economic, and cultural fabric of our country, they face numerous injustices in employment, health care, education and immigration policies,” states Jessica González-Rojas, Executive Director of NLIRH. She adds, “this policy will ease a substantial burden for immigrant women, who contribute to the economic stability of their families and cite family reunification as one of the top reasons for coming to the United States.”
The new policy is expected to impact nearly one million immigrants. Over half of all immigrants are women, and women are the drivers of naturalization in their families. In 2010, women represented 55% of all green card recipients and 53% of all naturalized citizens.