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National Coalition for Immigrant Women’s Rights: Defending Our Children and Families

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NLIRH, as part of the National Coalition for Immigrant Women's Rights, issued this statement regarding the recent anti-immigrant strategies. 

National leaders in the movement for women’s rights and equality are denouncing the dehumanizing anti-immigrant rhetoric and unjust attacks on basic human rights, including citizenship.

Anti-immigrant lawmakers and groups have prioritized targeting the children of immigrants, despite constitutional protections under the 14th amendment.

“Instead of focusing on real problems facing America, it is telling that these lawmakers have made targeting women and babies their first act of the new year,” said Miriam Yeung of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum.

“Some lawmakers repeatedly use derogatory and provocative terms like “alien invader” to describe immigrant mothers, make baseless accusations about their decision-making about where and when to have children, and deny their role as compassionate caretakers,” said Silvia Henriquez of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health. “This destructive message campaign must be challenged, and its presence in the national spotlight diminished.”

The National Coalition for Immigrant Women’s Rights strongly condemns the latest legislative assault on immigrant women and their children. Over half of immigrants are women and they are increasingly likely to be primary breadwinners and family caretakers.

“Immigrant mothers are vilified and dehumanized in this debate through inhumane policy proposals and derogatory messages,” added Miriam Yeung of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum. “These attacks on women’s humanity are too often left unchallenged, and serve to further expose the anti-woman, anti-human rights agenda of these lawmakers.”

Women’s and civil rights’ supporters are mobilizing to make the rights and dignity of immigrant women a top priority in 2011. The voices of women impacted by immigration will continue to grow in strength and influence as these attacks become even more pronounced and the harassment of immigrant families is used for political gain.

The National Coalition for Immigrant Women’s Rights steering committee is comprised of three leading national organizations, the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum (NAPAWF), Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH). Together, we call on policy makers to create family-friendly immigration policies, health care reforms, and labor protections on behalf of immigrant women as part of Comprehensive Immigration Reform.