November 7, 2013
Dear Members of Congress,
While you were doing god knows what during our nation's recent government shutdown, female immigrants were still contributing to the U.S. economy, culture and growth, just as they've been doing for generations upon generations.
And though some of you continue to be hell-bent on making the pathway to citizenship nearly impossible for these hardworking women and their families, we're glad to know that at least one of you recognizes just how much female immigrants have contributed to our nation, and ultimately, to our lives.
This week, Rep. Dina Titus (D-Nev.) penned a letter to you all, her fellow Members of Congress, asking that you consider the many vital contributions immigrant women have made to the U.S., and encouraging you help "empower immigrant women with a fair path to citizenship."
In her letter, Titus writes:
"Current immigration policy and past reform efforts have failed to take into account the special circumstances of immigrant women. As we again work to reform our broken immigration system and create a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country, it is critical that we consider the unique needs and contributions of immigrant women."
As Congress moves forward in their consideration of the current immigration reform, Titus asks that you keep these two major facts in mind:
Approximately 74% of undocumented domestic workers (many of whom are women who work at home or in the informal economy) do not receive documentation of their pay from an employer many meaning that they do not always receive paystubs. This is important because, at present, eligibility for the path to citizenship requires proof of employment via paystubs.
"When we dismiss the important contributions of these women, we undermine the progress that all women in the U.S. have made in the pursuit of gender equality," reminds Titus. When American women started moving into the workforce in droves, immigrant women—and really, many women of color—helped keep American households running smoothly, raise American children, and take care of our ailing elders. Many American women wouldn't have been able to contribute to the workforce and economy if not for immigrant women.
All in all, creating arbitrary roadblocks on the pathway to citizenship can—and will—ultimately hurt our nation as a whole. It's about time that we stop viewing immigrants as "other" and start seeing them for what they really are: One of us!
Let's work together to empower immigrant women and create a fair pathway to citizenship—for all of our sakes.