The Pew Hispanic Center estimates that there are more than 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, about half of whom are women.
Members of the Immigration Circle are committed to improving the lives of undocumented women in the United States. This population is extremely vulnerable to the abuses of employers, and also lives with the constant threat of deportation and separation from their children. Though they pay taxes, undocumented women are often trapped in occupations that do not provide benefits, so they live with a great deal of insecurity with regard to their personal health and income security as seniors.
WDN’s Immigration Circle has been focused on educational activities, but its members have also successfully brought to bear some of their lobbying power around the issue in Washington, D.C.
Immigration Reform was one of the key issues WDN members lobbied for as a part of our “Becoming an Effective Public Woman” training in March. We met with numerous Senate and House members and their staffs. Given the hostile political climate for legislative reform, we focused on administrative relief for immigrants who are being deported as part of our currently broken system.
A delegation of WDN’s Immigration Circle met with senior White House staff – Cecilia Muñoz, Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, and Stephanie Valencia, Associate Director of the Office of Public Engagement. The delegation urged the Obama Administration to use executive authority to change some of the most egregious enforcement and deportation practices. Our message was that the Administration should allow for more case-by-case review of deportations so that families weren’t being torn apart, as this is consistent with our American values. We were thrilled to learn in August 2011 that the Administration decided to perform a case-by-case review of the 300,000 deportation cases currently in proceedings in an effort to focus only on those immigrants who had committed serious crimes.
Members of the Immigration Circle focus on educating the WDN community about immigration and its impact in the U.S. and in other countries, especially Mexico and Latin America, and especially the impacts on women and children.