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Comprehensive Immigration Reform needed now to stop suffering of undocumented women and their families

LatinaLista — Today is International Women’s Day, a day that celebrates the strides women have made and the hardships they still endure.

immigrant women.jpg

When we think of those hardships, those of us who are middle-class, college-educated or have good jobs, tend to think of the women in third-world countries or countries where men and women are still considered unequal and where women are still treated as subservient slaves to the men in their families and society, subjected to treatment that most 21st Century women think is obsolete.

Yet, we don’t have to look across an ocean or a border to see that so-called “obsolete” treatment perpetuated within our own communities. It’s happening here in greater numbers to women who are known as undocumented immigrants.

(Source: VivirLatino)

By virtue of their undocumented status, some of these women are subjected to abusive bosses, violent boyfriends/husbands and intimidation tactics from unscrupulous law enforcement officials.

It’s no wonder that the pressure of living under such conditions impacts these immigrant women with high rates of depression and suicide.

One way to alleviate the suffering of these women is through Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) which will allow these women to clarify their status so they don’t have to be afraid anymore or live through a daily torture.

March, ironically, the month set aside to recognize women, is supposed to be the month that a bill addressing CIR is to be introduced.

To get the ball rolling, President Obama and Senators Schumer and Graham scheduled a meeting today to discuss CIR going forward.

Only it doesn’t look like CIR is going forward this week:

Politico reports:

A White House confab on immigration reform planned for this afternoon between President Obama and Sens. Charles Schumer and Lindsey Graham was scrapped after Graham’s flight from South Carolina got canceled, according to a Senate aide.

It’s the second time in a week that a Schumer sitdown at 1600 has been postponed — an Oval Office one-on-one between the New York senator and POTUS was already canceled due to a scheduling conflict.

The immigration meeting will be rescheduled, a White House spokesman said – and staffers will meet with grassroots immigration groups on Thursday.

Immigrant advocates are getting impatient.

Yes, the President has his hands full with healthcare but deportations have actually increased under the Obama Administration. As such, more immigrant families are being subjected to arbitrary enforcement of national immigration policy, and as a result, parents are being separated from children.

More immigrant women are finding themselves the victims of threats of being reported to Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials by abusive individuals if they don’t comply with whatever demands are being made on them. So, it’s a no-brainer that it is increasingly imperative that the President make room on his plate for this issue, that is explosive and divisive in its own right.

Because if today is any indication, people aren’t willing to wait any longer.

All day long, in anticipation of the President’s scheduled meeting with Schumer and Graham, Washington-based immigrant advocacy organizations were gearing up to deliver expert analysis on what turned out to be the “meeting-that-wasn’t.”

Yet, in all honesty, most grass-roots immigrant advocates outside Washington decided a while back not to wait for Capitol Hill.

For example, immigration reform advocates are starting to sign people up for bus caravans to attend a massive march in DC on March 21, 2010.

In Chicago, it’s being reported by Sin Fronteras that a special resolution will be presented to “put Chicago on record (for being) in favor of the historic March 21st “March for America” in Washington D.C.”

And today, on Capitol Hill, an emotional press conference was held:

Community leaders from around the nation held a news conference to express their objections to the immigration enforcement policies of the Obama administration. They talked about what they see as increased deportations and detentions taking place and its effects on families and communities. This event was hosted by the coalition called the Fair Immigration Reform Movement.

But it’s not only immigrant advocates gearing up.

NumbersUSA and Tea Party members are staging events across the country from March 19-22. Their events are under the banner of “S.T.O.P. AMNESTY in FOUR DAYS!”

No matter how many White House meetings to discuss CIR get cancelled, it’s clear that the proverbial train has left the station. It’s up to this administration to decide if they want to jump on the engine and steer this debate or jump on the caboose and go along for the ride.

Either way, this issue is rolling.

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  • Texan123
    March 9, 2010 at 8:47 am

    It is very sad that so many women and children suffer abuse by the men in their lives. Bad decisions create bad results. Even citizen women are abused and mistreated. Legal status will not change that.
    Women need to make wise choices. Stay away from men with violent tempers. Stay away from gangsters. If you are under 21 and having sex, get on birth control until you CHOOSE to have kids and can support them in a secure family environment.
    Immigration Reform will not solve many of the issues it is advertised to fix. People choose to put themselves in vunerable positions, often in the hope of financial gain.
    What ever happened to the notion that people have a RESPONSIBILITY to take care of themselves and their kids? It is not the responsibility of American taxpayers to provide for everyone who can walk across the border. People make choices and then must live with the consequiences. People can also make choices NOT to put themselves in dangerous situations. There are already multitudes of help for abused women, even the undocumented. They just have to find the guts to accept help.

  • Kate
    May 19, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    Timely and prescient article in light of passage of AZ SB 1070 and current state of debate regarding immigration reform.

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