A policy brief around the issue of comprehensive immigration reform has concluded that passing immigration reform can reduce the level of violence against immigrant and refugee women.
The brief presented this week by the Global Women’s Institute (GWI) at the George Washington University views passage of immigration reform “a critical tool in advancing” issues around gender-based violence and helping to end it.
The brief noted that many female immigrants and female refugees do not possess a visa leaving them vulnerable to exploitation and sexual abuse by employers and their partners. They are often without the ability to assert their labor or civil rights due in great part to fear of deportation. Many suffer in silence and do not access social services that might be available to them.
The GWI brief surmises that passage of immigration reform, currently stalled by House Republicans, will strengthen worker protections and with a path to citizenship allow these women access, without fear, to law enforcement and legal remedies. GWI goes as far as to urge for focus on measures that eliminate violence in foreign lands this in turn would reduce the number of female refugees coming to the U.S.
“Every day that we delay action on reform that reflects the needs and contributions of immigrant women, our country is paying a terrible price,” said Pramila Jayapal, co-chair of We Belong Together, a campaign to mobilize women in support of common-sense immigration reform that will keep families together and prioritize women. “We are tearing families apart, missing out on the talents of millions of dedicated women workers and putting women’s lives in jeopardy. That’s why millions of women from all backgrounds are stepping up their advocacy efforts to Congress.”