Women’s Groups Push Republicans on Immigration Reform


Leading women’s rights and immigration reform advocates announced Wednesday that they plan to turn up the heat on Republicans in the U.S. House who are standing in the way of immigration reform.

Reps. Suzan DelBene (D-WA) and Judy Chu (D-CA) joined organizers of We Belong Together, a campaign to mobilize women in support of immigration reform, on a press call discussing the group’s plans to push back against a consensus that there will be no movement on immigration reform this year. The group plans a month of fasting and other protest activities in March, and will soon release data on which congressional districts could be swayed by women voters who are mobilized on immigration.

“Women and children are disproportionately affected by our broken system,” said DelBene. About 75 percent of immigrants in the United States are women and children.

“Mothers are separated from their children when they are detained and deported, domestic violence victims fear reporting their abuser because of their immigration status,” said Chu.

Both representatives said that the votes are there to pass immigration reform in Congress, but that House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) is standing in the way.

When asked how the coalition plans to have any effect when reform this year is widely understood to be dead, Pramila Jayapal, chair of We Belong Together, said that if the Republican leadership “really looks at the cost” of not moving immigration forward, they might realize their mistake. “The timeline cannot be dictated by a small group of people,” she said.

Ana Garcia-Ashley, executive director of the grassroots faith-based organization the Gamaliel Foundation, said Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) has shifted his views somewhat after taking consistent meetings with her community.

“It is public pressure that can change things,” Chu said. “Look at Hurricane Sandy. There would not have been a vote on that had there not been public outrage.”

Maria Galvan, an undocumented mother of two, shared her experiences with reporters on the call. She said that while she is grateful for the temporary protections her children will receive under DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), it is not enough.

“Our family is still not safe,” she said. “I know DACA is only temporary, and my husband and I could be deported at any moment.”

Like this story? Your $10 tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.

To schedule an interview with contact director of communications Rachel Perrone at rachel@rhrealitycheck.org.

  • hacimo

    Why did Maria Galvan break the law and enter our country illegally. Does she expect to be forgiven for this when other people are summarily deported. What makes her above the law.

    • Arekushieru

      Um, you didn’t read very well, either. Not surprisingly. Why would someone enter the country LEGALLY, if there are all these roadblocks in front of those who try? Especially when you are most likely NOT financially well-situated and are coming from a country where there is a threat of danger to your very LIFE every minute of every day? IGNORANT much?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

  • Armando_Cedillo

    Interesting – I didn’t know that being a woman automatically entitled a foreign national to violate U.S. law with impunity. Sounds a little patronizing to be honest.

    • Arekushieru

      YOU are the one who is being patronizing and OBVIOUSLY didn’t read the entire post as most everyone else did, OF course.

      • Armando_Cedillo

        God willing – you will be apprehended and repatriated to your home country. You need to understand that actions have consequences.