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Immigration: An Issue of Intersectional Feminism

By Anahita Ghajarrahimi

The current administration criminalizes undocumented immigrants to the point that children immigrating with their parents are separated from their families at the border and imprisoned in detention centers whose conditions are comparable to concentration camps. In addition, within the past week there have been more threats of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids in cities across the nation. (1)

Immigration must be regarded as a feminist issue because there is an inherent gender bias in the overall immigration system. Women are less-likely to be principal visa holders, even if they have similar levels of education to men. Within the family-based visa program, the gender bias persists since more women than men immigrate into the United States as dependents within this program, and there is significant delay in granting these family-based visas, which keeps families apart longer. (2, 5) Thus, immigration and motherhood can be seen as inherently connected, since women are typically grouped with children as dependents of their spouses. However, this becomes more complicated for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender families, since the permanent resident in that relationship cannot sponsor their spouse or child to come to the United States. (3) 

When turning to the cases of undocumented immigrants or those seeking asylum in the United States, the current crisis at the border involves the violent separation of children from their parents. Family separation will have lasting traumatic impact on the migrant children, who are held at detention centers at the border while their parents are prosecuted. 

Contra Costa NOW stands as an ally to immigrants and undocumented persons within our community by supporting leglislation that will protect their rights and spreading information about paths to gaining citizenship. Specifically, we aim to boost the immigrant voices and spread awareness regarding the disproportionate sufferings and atrocities immigrant women face due to the unique intersections between political, economic, labor, and social circles. (4)

The local resource, Stand Together Contra Costa, provides a rapid response 24-hotline, legal services, and community awareness and educational programs in order to properly and effectively support and ensure the protection of the undocumented and immigrant families within Contra Costa. 

As a part of NOW’s Action Campaign to promote immigrant rights, contact your senators about passing the Clean DREAM Act to help give immigrant youths and young adults who came to the United States when they were children a pathway to citizenship. After contacting your senators, donate to NOW here to better fund further campaigns that champion and support immigrant rights. (6)

 

 

Sources:

  1. Alvarez, Priscilla, and Geneva Sands. “ICE Set to Begin Immigration Raids in 10 Cities on Sunday.” CNN, Cable News Network, 22 June 2019, www.cnn.com/2019/06/21/politics/ice-immigration-raids/index.html.
  2. Facts about: Family Immigration System AND Asian & Pacific Islander Women. National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum. https://nciwr.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/napawf_familyimmigration_factsheet-3.pdf
  3. “National Organization for Women.” Immigration as a Feminist Issue, now.org/resource/immigration-as-a-feminist-issue/.
  4. “Protect Immigrant Rights.” National Organization for Women, now.org/nap/immigrant-rights/.
  5. Valoy, Patricia. “Why Immigration Is a Feminist Issue.” Everyday Feminism, 2 Oct. 2014, everydayfeminism.com/2013/12/immigration-feminist-issue/.
  6. “What Is the Dream Act?” National Immigration Law Center, www.nilc.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Clean-Dream-Act-1pg-2017.pdf.