We Belong Together (campaign)

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The We Belong Together Campaign is anchored by the National Domestic Workers Alliance and the Asian Pacific American Women's Forum along with other groups throughout the United States. We Belong Together is an initiative that is taking place all over the United States, which seeks to brings women from across the nation to bring attention to immigration laws that impact women and also gather women together to fight for immigration reform.[1] This campaign was formed to address issues that are not taking into account the experiences of women, who make up the majority of the immigrant population in the United States.[2] The campaign offers a gender based analysis and focuses on the importance of maintaining nuclear families together.

History[edit]

The campaign was created on Mother's Day in 2010 after a group of women from the National Domestic Workers Alliance and the Asian Pacific American Women's Forum traveled to Arizona to investigate the ways in which anti-immigrant law SB1070 would impact women, children, and families. There, these women found that a large number of families were being separated and deported and that a large number of women were suffering from violence which their immigration status prevented them from seeking help in any of these cases and immigration system in place did not address any of these women's issues.[3] The co-chairs of the campaign are currently Andrea Mercado and Miriam Yeung. The campaign is designed to unify and empower women, despite their immigration status, and to mobilize them in efforts to demand a just and fair immigration process be established.[4] They argue that women and children are the face of immigration and thus policies must be implemented that will focus on this population that has been very much ignored.[5] We Belong Together mobilizes women to work towards a "common sense" immigration reform to keep families together.[6] The campaign also focuses on issues that directly affect women that are currently not being addressed such as violence and domestic abuse.

Goals[edit]

  • Advocates for legislation that provides a clear pathway to citizenship for immigrant women
  • Acknowledges the contributions that immigrant make to the U.S. economy
  • Ensures the safety of women who suffer from violence and domestic abuse
  • Offers health services to women that in need
  • Secures all families and their reunification

Campaign[edit]

We Belong Together fights against the exploitation, immobility, and violence against women, despite their documention status.Their main focuses on include creating a faster route for citizenship, stopping deportation and the separation of families and working to provide quality services for all women in the United States.

Eligibility for citizenship: Eligibility criteria for women to obtain legal status on their own is close to not possible as most women come to the United States through family based admissions, rather than through employment admissions.[7] This prevents women's independence.

Work: Immigrant women have less opportunities to partake in formal employment. In addition domestic services are most of the times not acknowledged to have much significance on the economy.[8]

Exploitation: Women are more vulnerable to face exploitation in the workplace then their counterparts. Most of the time, women are paid significantly less, work extreme hours, are exposed to hazardous environments and also suffer from sexual abuse, harassment, and assault in the workplace.[9]

Deportation: Immigrant women who are detained, face the violation of their rights as human beings, such as the lack of due process and separation from families, including their children.[10]

Health: Most immigrant women do not have access to health care services and health insurance due to their undocumented status and/or low income status.[11]

Programs[edit]

Some of the programs that they have innitiated, include, the Women's Fast for Families, Wish for the holidays, 100 Women, 100 miles March, and the 100 women civil disobedience. During the ACT. FAST. Women's Fast for Families, over 1,000 women fasted for at least 24 hours throughout the United States. The fast ended with a protest on Capital Hill to "feed courage" to lawmakers who refuse to address women's needs within the current immigration system.[12] Wish for the Holidays has taken place every year since 2010 during the holiday season. Wish for the Holidays is when children deliver cookies in the shapes of hearts and letters that were written by children and women who all shared the same wish: for fair immigration reform to be passed in order to keep families together. These letters provide personal narratives from children, women and allies to communicate with congress, lawmakers, and the president how deportation and lack of immigration reform affects them.[13] The 100 Women, 100 Miles Pilgrimage took place on September 15 to September 13 of 2015 in which 100 women marched from Pennsylvania to Washington D.C.. The purpose of this march was to greet the Pope and give him the message of how the immigrant population was suffering from inhumane laws and criminalized by the United States government.[14] The 100 Women Civil Disobedience took place on September 12, 2013, in which over 100 women participated in a civil disobedience act to demand "fair immigration reform." 104 women were arrested for blocking the intersection outside of the Capital Building. 28 of the arrested women were undocumented. This was the largest civil disobedience act in which women came together to address the issue of immigration.[15]

In 2017, children and teens involved in the group used their spring break to protest the immigration policies of Donald Trump.[16]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Tam, Ruth (2013-11-20). "Can women give immigration reform the boost it needs?". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2015-11-11. 
  2. ^ "Immigrant Women in the United States: A Portrait of Demographic Diversity | Immigration Policy Center". www.immigrationpolicy.org. Retrieved 2015-11-23. 
  3. ^ "Immigration Reform: Good for Immigrant Women, Good for American Feminism". The Nation. ISSN 0027-8378. Retrieved 2015-11-11. 
  4. ^ "We Belong Together: Courage and Contribution". www.latinamericancoalition.org. Retrieved 2015-11-11. 
  5. ^ "We Belong Together: Courage and Contribution". www.latinamericancoalition.org. Retrieved 2015-11-11. 
  6. ^ "WDN's Immigration Circle Awards Grant to We Belong Together". Women Donors Network. Retrieved 2015-11-11. 
  7. ^ "Immigrant Women in the United States: A Portrait of Demographic Diversity | Immigration Policy Center". www.immigrationpolicy.org. Retrieved 2015-11-11. 
  8. ^ "10 Facts You Need to Know About Immigrant Women (2013 Update)". name. Retrieved 2015-11-11. 
  9. ^ "10 Facts You Need to Know About Immigrant Women (2013 Update)". name. Retrieved 2015-11-11. 
  10. ^ "Immigrants' Rights Advocates Call for Moratorium on Deportation of Refugee Women and Children at Artesia Detention Center Until Basic Due Process Needs Are Met". womensrefugeecommission.org. Retrieved 2015-11-11. 
  11. ^ "Immigrant Women in the United States". migrationpolicy.org. Retrieved 2015-11-11. 
  12. ^ "Women Hungry for Immigration Reform Stage Fasts". Women's eNews. Retrieved 2015-11-11. 
  13. ^ "All They Want For Christmas Is Their Parents". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2015-11-11. 
  14. ^ Constable, Pamela (2015-09-21). "'People don't know how we suffer': 100 women walk to D.C. for Pope Francis's visit". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2015-11-11. 
  15. ^ Preston, Julia (2013-09-12). "Women's Groups Rally for Immigration Reform". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2015-11-11. 
  16. ^ Serrano, Priscila. "South Florida Kids Head To D.C. To Protest Trump's Immigration Policies". Retrieved 2017-04-11.