The topic of immigration reform tends to spark intense debate about immigrants, the economy, civil rights, and equality. In the past, I have written about various events, marches, and protests. Also, I have commented on hunger strikes. Recently, an article was posted on MSNBC.com about another group fasting for immigration reform.
Starting in November of 2013, the national Fast for Families campaign was started. The intent of this movement is to encourage those in Congress to focus on creating and implementing a real solution for immigration reform. On March 8 of this year, the “Act Fast: Women's Fast for Families” campaign began. March 8 is International Women's Day. Those involved in this campaign include Sherrilyn Ifill, from the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and Laura Murphy of the the ACLU.
Specifically, this fast will accomplish a showing of solidarity with the approximately 11 million undocumented immigrants who are living in this country right now. According to the author of the MSNBC article, Judith Browne Dianis, “immigration policies have become more restrictive during times of migration of people of color. Today, our immigrant neighbors are all races and from all over the world, yet the common perception is that they are only people of color. These skewed images are exploited to gin up an atmosphere of fear and racism that fuels our discourse and misdirects our policymaking.” Dianis is the co-director of the national civil rights organization Advancement Project.
In her piece, Dianis highlights a troubling issue. Immigrants who come to the U.S. for a better life “are often stereotyped as criminals.” As you can imagine, this leads to discrimination and racial profiling. One major problem associated with immigration and immigration reform is the fact that many don't understand that it comes down to an issue of equality.
The article also touches on the fact that there have been an estimated 2 million immigrants deported throughout President Obama's time in office. Not only has the number of deportations risen, but anti-immigrant laws have been passed in a number of states, as well. This leads Dianis to pose her ultimate question: Where is the humanity in such treatment?
Interestingly enough, women and children make up three-fourths of all immigrants in the United States. Problems arise when these children are left behind after one or both parents have been placed in detention centers or deported. This fear has many families worried that their worlds could be turned upside down.
In the current immigration system, the visa program does a poor job of taking into account the fact that many immigrant women work in informal health care or domestic work. Those who work in these fields often receive little pay, no health care, and work in unfavorable conditions. We need immigration reform now. Dianis cites a news report by NBC that says that “almost 70% of women support comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship.”
If you have questions about current immigration issues you are facing, do not hesitate to contact my office. We can help.