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Statement: 9to5 Applauds Executive Action on Immigration, But It’s Not Enough

Statement: 9to5 Applauds Executive Action on Immigration, But It’s Not Enough

Linda Meric
National Executive Director, 9to5
(303) 628-0925 x15 or lindam@9to5.org

DENVER, Nov.  24, 2014 — “9to5 stands with labor and immigration organizations thanking President Obama for his executive action granting temporary legal status for close to 5 million undocumented immigrants. But this is not enough. The time for common-sense immigration reform, more than ever, is now. The Congress needs to take the President’s lead and pass comprehensive immigration reform that will strengthen our families, communities and nation.

Immigration is a women’s issue. It is a family issue. Women in communities across the country are affected by U.S. immigration policies that undermine their and their families’ well-being.

Marcela Cervantes, who was three years old when she came to Colorado, says about her family, “We came to Colorado from Leon, Guanajuato in Mexico. My grandmother brought us to the United States for a better life, so my mom could find better work and provide for us since she was a single mother with two kids and another on the way.”

Marcela, now 26, is like millions of other women and children who make up three quarters of all immigrants in this country; a daughter, sister, a worker and is now a mother herself.  Some of her immediate family members are US citizens, some are not. She lives in fear that any moment, she could be ripped apart from her family simply because our failed immigration system has left her undocumented in the country she grew up in.

Approximately 60 percent of undocumented women are in the labor force, often working as domestic workers or caretakers in industries that do not provide paystubs. The remaining 40 percent of undocumented women are at home caring for their own children and families. Immigration reform must include a clear and accessible roadmap to citizenship, free from unreasonable fees and fines. A variety of documents must be honored as proof of employment, and work done in the home must be recognized.

Too many women and children unfairly bear the brunt of detention and deportation. In a recent two-year period, 23 percent of all deportations were issued for parents with U.S. citizen children. In a nation that values liberty and justice for all, we cannot continue to break apart families and punish aspiring Americans.

Caring for our families and putting our children first is a universal value. Immigrant women and their families need a path to citizenship that recognizes their contributions to our communities and our economy, reunites families, ensures higher education access for immigrant students, protects the rights and dignity of workers, and integrates immigrants into all aspects of community life. We will all benefit from a common-sense immigration process that leads to safe communities, healthy children and a strong economy.

The President’s executive action is a good first step. Now it’s up to Congress to complete the work at hand and pass comprehensive immigration reform.”

About 9to5: With forty-one years’ experience in winning justice for working women, 9to5 leads the way to create a powerful force for change on issues affecting low-wage women and their families. www.9to5.org