The fight for immigration reform has continued to pick up allies from almost every corner of society in the United States, and now a different group with a long history of activism has stepped up to join the fight. Feminist organizations have begun framing immigration reform in the guise of a women’s rights issue and have become particularly vocal supporters of reform.
Famous activists such as Gloria Steinem have been coming out to show their support of immigration reform, and such high profile support is giving the movement extra weight. Although the debate over immigration reform is often discussed in terms of border security, economic impact, enforcement and legalities, women’s advocacy groups are trying to have the debate repositioned in terms of the effects in the real world on families, particularly mothers and children.
“When you ask people what images they think of when they think of immigration reform, (it’s) often men, scary looking, scaling the border walls,” says the co-chair of national immigration campaign for women We Belong Together, Pramila Jayapal. “The idea that it’s really women and children that are the majority of immigrants to the United States is completely lost.”
By discussing how broken homes can be caused by the lack of citizenship and generally putting the emphasis on the human side of the debate, Steinem and other female activists hope to be able to put a more sympathetic spin on a controversial issue that is often referred to in generalizations.