Titus Urges Colleagues to Empower Immigrant Women with a Fair Path to Citizenship

Nov 6, 2013
Press Release
November 5, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Dina Titus sent a letter to all of her colleagues in the House of Representatives urging them to empower immigrant women by enacting comprehensive immigration reform. 
The following is a copy of Congresswoman Titus’s letter: 
Dear Colleague: 
Immigrant women in the United States represent an essential part of the cultural, economic and social fabric of our nation.  Women make up a majority of immigrants, but their contributions to our families, our communities, and our economy are often overlooked. 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. 
Approximately 60 percent of undocumented women are part of the workforce, and the majority of these women work in the informal economy.  They are nannies, care-givers, housekeepers, garment workers, and much more.  They care for our children, our parents, and our homes.  They strive every day to protect and provide for their own loved ones.  Immigrant women keep our families strong, help build vital communities, and fill a critical and growing need in our economy.
Comprehensive immigration reform must take into account the fact that many immigrant women work at home or in the informal economy.  If, for example, eligibility for the path to citizenship requires proof of employment, providing paystubs cannot be the only acceptable proof or we risk leaving millions of women behind.  Approximately 74 percent of undocumented domestic workers do not receive documentation of their pay from an employer.  Thankfully, H.R. 15, the bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform bill recently introduced in the House, addresses this issue by allowing flexible forms of proof of employment. It is critical that we incorporate this thoughtful approach into any immigration reform bill considered by the House.
The work of immigrant women has been neglected and devalued for too long.  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.  I hope that you will join me in ensuring that immigrant women have a fair path to citizenship so that every woman, whatever her immigration status, is empowered to pursue the American dream.  
Dina Titus
Member of Congress