The Brutal Impact of AntiImmigrant Laws on Women and
How We Are Fighting Back
Prerna Lal
Report from the Women’s Emergency...
General Statistics on Immigrant
Women
• Women make up more than half of all immigrants living in
the United States. (U.S. ...
General Statistics on Immigrant
Women
• In the first ever poll of immigrant women, researchers found
that the majority of ...
Trigger Words and Phrases
• Illegal
• ―Anchor baby‖ – As a U.S. citizen, you cannot sponsor your
parents for citizenship t...
Current Landscape
• States adopting draconian
immigration laws, the gist being
that police have the legal
authority to arr...
These acts rip families apart
• ―I never knew this could happen,‖ said
Catherine, age 9 and a U.S. citizen. Both of her
pa...
These acts rob women of the right to
support their loved ones.
• ―We come here to work and all the time we were
just tryin...
These acts subject women to
humiliation and violence from
enforcement agents.
• Alejandra suffered a broken jaw when she w...
These acts scar children and force
some to parent their younger
siblings.
• We heard from children who watched in horror
a...
These acts force women to live with
physical and sexual violence
• Sylvia told us the undocumented parents she works
with ...
These acts rob students of access to
education
• We met a brilliant DREAM Act eligible student
accepted to a graduate prog...
These acts instill terror of those who
should be protectors.
• Mary Rose Garrido Wilcox from the Board of
Supervisors told...
These acts create fear of doing the
most basic activities simply because
of the color of one’s skin.
• Carrie said she oft...
These acts increase crime and
wrong-doing
• One of the most insidious side effects of SB 1070
is that it breeds a culture ...
These acts are unconstitutional and
provide no solution to broken
immigration system
• The system is undoubtedly broken wh...
Dora the Explorer
Undocumented Immigrant Youth
Organizers
• DREAM Act

▫ Arrived before the age of 16
▫ Lived continuously in the U.S.
for 5...
In response to federal inaction and state anti-immigration laws, in May
2010, four undocumented youth -- three women and a...
Georgia Undocumented Youth Alliance. Six undocumented students (four
women) were arrested after an act of civil disobedien...
Tania Mattos
Tania was born in Bolivia and
raised in Jackson Heights, Queens
from the age of 4. She graduated
from SUNY-Fa...
Diana Martinez, 18, an undocumented student, was one of 12
arrested after refusing to leave their sit-in in the Hart Senat...
―I grew up here eating pizza and hamburgers, listening to NSync, TLC, and
watching Full House and the Fresh Prince of Bel-...
Three young immigrant women -- Viridiana, Loida and Rosario – went
on a hunger strike to demand that North Carolina Senato...
Queer and Undocumented
• Deal with backlash and
pressure to get married from
their own immigrant families
• Constantly wor...
Questions?
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The Brutal Impact of Anti-Immigrant Laws on Women

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In the aftermath of SB1070, I traveled to Arizona as part of a group of women leaders to conduct a fact-finding mission on how anti-immigrant laws affect women and children in the state. This powerpoint is a presentation that I developed from the organic, grassroots research conducted in Arizona.

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  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jI7J2b3t4WU
  • Hunger strike, New York Youth Leadership Council
  • http://vimeo.com/14598972
  • Majority of queer South Asians don’t feel like they are accepted in either the South Asian or mainstream LGBT community.
  • The Brutal Impact of Anti-Immigrant Laws on Women

    1. 1. The Brutal Impact of AntiImmigrant Laws on Women and How We Are Fighting Back Prerna Lal Report from the Women’s Emergency Human Rights Delegation to Arizona, USA
    2. 2. General Statistics on Immigrant Women • Women make up more than half of all immigrants living in the United States. (U.S. Census Bureau). • Women now make up 51% of all lawful permanent resident seekers in the U.S., up from 38% in 2000. • There are an estimated 4.1 million undocumented women in the United States today. • 4 million American citizens (ages 0-18) live in a household with at least one undocumented parent. (Pew Hispanic Center) • Women are more likely to initiate the citizenship process for their families. (New American Media: 2009 report, Women Immigrants: Stewards of the 21st Century Family) • Women are more likely to invest in their children’s education and send them to college. (Stephan Frais, Global Education of Girls Is Key to Development)
    3. 3. General Statistics on Immigrant Women • In the first ever poll of immigrant women, researchers found that the majority of immigrant women that come to the United States are educated, with many holding advanced degrees and have held professional jobs in their countries. (New America Media, 2009) • 22% of the farm worker population is female (National Agricultural Workers Survey, U.S. Department of Labor). • Educated women immigrants often take low paying jobs in factories, agriculture or childcare in order to make ends meet for their families and become the breadwinner of the family for extended periods of time. (New America Media, 2009) • 10% of the detained population are women, majority of whom are there as asylum seekers fleeing violence or victims of domestic violence
    4. 4. Trigger Words and Phrases • Illegal • ―Anchor baby‖ – As a U.S. citizen, you cannot sponsor your parents for citizenship till you are 21. • Criminals – Being undocumented in the U.S. is actually not a crime. • ―They should not be blamed for the sins and wrongdoings of their parents‖ • ―I will marry you‖ or ―Why don’t you just get married?‖ • Why don’t you just become legal? • Go back to your country and come here legally • Can I see your ID? • What crime did you commit?
    5. 5. Current Landscape • States adopting draconian immigration laws, the gist being that police have the legal authority to arrest anyone who they have a ―reasonable suspicion‖ is undocumented. ▫ ▫ ▫ Arizona (SB 1070) - The ―papers please‖ law. Enjoined by Judge Bolton. Georgia (HB 87) – Enjoined. Still bans undocumented students from access to higher education in five colleges. Alabama (HB 56) - Judge Blackburn let stand provisions that allowed schools to track the immigration status of their K-12 students and render any contracts with undocumented people as unenforceable.
    6. 6. These acts rip families apart • ―I never knew this could happen,‖ said Catherine, age 9 and a U.S. citizen. Both of her parents were arrested in a workplace raid. Over 100,000 parents of United States citizens like Catherine were deported in the past 10 years. Few think about the implication of that staggering statistic on children who are forced to live without their families, on parents who are separated from their children.
    7. 7. These acts rob women of the right to support their loved ones. • ―We come here to work and all the time we were just trying to survive,‖ said Sandra, Catherine’s mother. ―But we have to live closed in fear.‖ Even those who have been on the job for a long time face increased incidents of workplace harassment. Benita, a public worker for 23 years, told us, ―They give me more things to do because of my color; they’re always telling me to do something about my accent.‖
    8. 8. These acts subject women to humiliation and violence from enforcement agents. • Alejandra suffered a broken jaw when she was detained and then was denied medical care, despite her repeated cries for medical attention, and suffers ongoing problems as a result. • We learned that Laura and many others were refused the most basic sanitary supplies. • When I was in bed, I was begging the sheriff, 'Please let me free— at least one hand,' and he said, no, he didn't want to," Juana Villegas. She was describing the experience of being shackled to her hospital bed as she went into labor. Villegas gave birth in the sheriff's custody, after she was stopped by local police while driving without a valid license.
    9. 9. These acts scar children and force some to parent their younger siblings. • We heard from children who watched in horror as a parent was arrested, or came home to an empty house to get a call from immigration. We learned of children who draw pictures of living in a house in a cage. ―It’s not like a wound that just heals,‖ Esperanza told us. ―They’re damaging our soul. The scars will be there forever.‖
    10. 10. These acts force women to live with physical and sexual violence • Sylvia told us the undocumented parents she works with would not report a sexual assault for fear of being deported. One woman put it this way: ―If the law goes through, I don’t think any woman will ever call the police again. It will be chaos. It will be terrible.‖ This is in direct contradiction with federal immigration benefits such as the Violence Against Women Act and U visa, which allows undocumented victims of violence in the United States to come forward and get legalization based on their cooperation with law enforcement.
    11. 11. These acts rob students of access to education • We met a brilliant DREAM Act eligible student accepted to a graduate program at Harvard and promised financial aid by a group of supporters here, who are now afraid that due to SB 1070, they could be jailed for providing this help. Other teenagers have dropped out of school in order to earn income lost with a parent’s detention while some do not see the point of high school if they cannot see a pathway to higher education. • In Alabama, 2000 Latino students failed to show up for school the day after HB 87 was signed into law. Even U.S. citizen students stayed home so that they won’t expose their parents and siblings.
    12. 12. These acts instill terror of those who should be protectors. • Mary Rose Garrido Wilcox from the Board of Supervisors told us she had to ask Sheriff Joe Arpaio's office not to send representatives to the annual baseball outing for students. ―The kids are so afraid of those brown shirts,‖ she said, ―they won’t come if the sheriffs are there.‖ Besides law enforcement, some have expressed that the legislation might even deter people from seeking the help of clergy.
    13. 13. These acts create fear of doing the most basic activities simply because of the color of one’s skin. • Carrie said she often gives people rides to the doctor or the store. ―Since SB 1070 was signed,‖ she told us, ―a lot of people haven’t been coming out, even to get free food. They’re afraid to leave their homes.‖
    14. 14. These acts increase crime and wrong-doing • One of the most insidious side effects of SB 1070 is that it breeds a culture of impunity for those who exploit and abuse immigrants by discouraging immigrants from reporting crimes to local law enforcement. SB 1070 gives a free pass to actual criminals to attack undocumented immigrants and those who could be perceived as undocumented, thus increasing crime.
    15. 15. These acts are unconstitutional and provide no solution to broken immigration system • The system is undoubtedly broken when it takes more than 20 years for families to unite, when adult children are not considered immediate relatives of their own parents and siblings, when mothers are ripped apart from their children, most people in detention and removal proceedings have no criminal records.
    16. 16. Dora the Explorer
    17. 17. Undocumented Immigrant Youth Organizers • DREAM Act ▫ Arrived before the age of 16 ▫ Lived continuously in the U.S. for 5 years ▫ Graduated from high school or have G.E.D. ▫ Finished two years of college or military ▫ Good moral character • Lost And Found: Short documentary by the late Tam Tran
    18. 18. In response to federal inaction and state anti-immigration laws, in May 2010, four undocumented youth -- three women and a gay man –- and a legal resident occupied Senator McCain’s office in Tucson, Arizona in what is widely believed to be the first act of civil disobedience by undocumented immigrants, risking arrested and deportation.
    19. 19. Georgia Undocumented Youth Alliance. Six undocumented students (four women) were arrested after an act of civil disobedience near the state capitol building. The youth aimed to take a stand against HB 87, a recently passed law modeled after Arizona’s SB1070 that would severely restrict and isolate the immigrant community within the state.
    20. 20. Tania Mattos Tania was born in Bolivia and raised in Jackson Heights, Queens from the age of 4. She graduated from SUNY-Fashion Institute of Technology with a B.S. in Direct marketing, and holds a M.A. in Political Science from CUNYBrooklyn College. Disturbed by the after-math of Hurricane Katrina, she ventured to New Orleans to conduct research on the lives of undocumented Latina’s living in New Orleans. While there, she cofounded People for the Gulf, an organization that aids indigenous communities that live in the Gulf. Last year, along with a dozen other undocumented students in New York, Tania participated in a two week hunger-strike to get Democratic Senator Schumer’s attention and support.
    21. 21. Diana Martinez, 18, an undocumented student, was one of 12 arrested after refusing to leave their sit-in in the Hart Senate Office building last July. She was brought here from Mexico when she was only 6 years old and aspires to get a PhD in Anthropology.
    22. 22. ―I grew up here eating pizza and hamburgers, listening to NSync, TLC, and watching Full House and the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.‖ - Isabel Castillo from Harrisonburg, Virginia. Isabel bravely confronted the Virginia Governor about her undocumented status at a townhall event last year. She has a BA in Social Work, an honorary doctorate from the University of San Francisco. Despite her educational achievements, Isabel works as a waitress.
    23. 23. Three young immigrant women -- Viridiana, Loida and Rosario – went on a hunger strike to demand that North Carolina Senator Kay Hagan (Democrat) support the DREAM Act. Senator Hagan responded by being one of the 5 Democrats who voted against the DREAM Act in December 2010, which failed to invoke cloture by 2 votes.
    24. 24. Queer and Undocumented • Deal with backlash and pressure to get married from their own immigrant families • Constantly worry about separation from bi-national partner • Deal with backlash about being queer from the often clergy-led immigrant rights movement. • Worry about the reaction to their immigrant status from people in the LGBTQ community.
    25. 25. Questions?
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