What’s the Real Problem Regarding the Scapegoating of Immigrant Women?


As part of this year’s Latina Week of Action for Reproductive Justice NLIRH is hosting a blog carnival centered around the topic of immigrant women.

The question we’ve posed to bloggers in our community is “What’s the real problem” when it comes to the scapegoating of immigrant women?

This framework comes for our recently released campaign with the same title, which focuses on healthy pregnancies, parenting and young Latina health. From that campaign:

The current discourse surrounding young motherhood is both stigmatizing and insensitive, and presents young motherhood as a problem in itself as opposed to the real problems that often surround it, such as poverty and lack of access to timely and high-quality health care services and educational opportunities. Latinas do not report having sex more than white women, but are at higher risk for pregnancy because they have significantly lower rates of contraceptive use. This disparity in contraceptive use is based not on simple preference, but is closely connected to social and economic inequity. What’s the real problem?

This framework can be applied to the many issues that we work on as reproductive justice advocates. In keeping with this year’s Week of Action theme, Caminamos: Justice for Immigrant Women, we’re asking what’s the real problem behind the scapegoating of immigrant women?

Today’s political rhetoric, with the attacks on immigrant women’s livelihood, reproductive choices and mere existence in the US, would have you believe that immigrant women are to blame for our economic situation. Racist movements to alter our constitution specifically target immigrant women–they say we should not be able to have families, or allow our citizen children the rights all other citizens are afforded.

We recognize that immigrant women are simply being used as a scapegoat for these larger institutional problems. We know that in reality, immigrant women are the backbone of many of our communities–they fill crucial jobs, care for our communities and pay millions in taxes.

The real problem is our broken immigration system that asks people to “get in line” despite the fact that the line stretches for decades and excludes many based on race, class, ability and national origin.

The real problem is the racism and nativism brewing in our country, which condones these attacks on immigrant women.

The real problem is an economy that profits off of and relies on undocumented immigrant labor, but abuses and criminalizes those who provide that labor.

And this is only the beginning. Through out the week we’ll be posting much more about these real problems, to bring the focus back where it belongs.

Interested in joining us? All the details are here.

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Follow Miriam Pérez on twitter: @miriamzperez