St. Louis Deportation Attorney Jim Hacking on Whether Immigration Policies Hit Women & Children Hardest

Over 100 women were arrested in front of Capitol Hill for protesting early last week outside of the House of Representatives. More than 200 supporters witnessed the arrests by Capitol Police and are calling on the House to make as bold a move by fixing immigration legislation.

Gender biases present in immigration system

The women at the protest wanted to do more than just raise awareness for the immigration cause, they demanded that Congress instill immigration policies that treat women and children fairly. “I refuse to sit by as more women bear the burden of our broken immigration system” says Ai Jen Poo, director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance who was arrested. Researchers explain that there are specific gender biases in immigration policies against women. These barriers can make it more difficult for women to gain legalization under the current system. The inequalities appear across the law and even the new laws are being challenged for stereotypes. The women want an open, affordable and accessible path to citizenship for all immigrant women and are willing to risk their freedom for it.

Lawmakers say not enough time to pass legislation

U.S. immigration laws indirectly hurt children. Some of the consequences of an aggressive immigration enforcement system is the separation of children, who are often U.S. citizens, from their undocumented parents. According to the Pew Hispanic Center, about 5.5 million children live in a mixed-legal status family with at least one parent who is an undocumented immigrant. The separation of parents and children can have detrimental effects on children like 11-year-old Josie Molina Macaraeg. “I am a U.S. citizen, but I cannot live my life because my father is in deportation proceedings.” Josie’s mom was just arrested for civil disobedience at the rally. “To me, courage is all of the children who go to school every day wondering if their parents will still be there when they come home at the end of the day.” Some lawmakers are saying that there may not even be time to consider the immigration legislation that has been laying on the table, but after Thursday’s protest, officials are encouraged to multitask so “there’s really no excuse for the House leadership to not move this forward and for the House not to act.”

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