Why Immigration reforms are needed for women in the US
Current lack of Immigration reforms in the United States of America are causing unrest among the 4.1 million strong populous of immigrant women and children who are currently living there without proper documentation and constitute about less than half of the total population of existing immigrants in the US. Life for the women and children under these circumstances is especially difficult, and while certain measures are being carried out which ensure that their basic rights are respected, the unfortunate truth remains that only a handful are positively impacted. For the majority, who live in less than humane conditions and in abject poverty, their increased vulnerability often makes them the target of violence and discrimination which they are unable to address due to their illegal status.
For Immigration reforms advocates, those who do not wish to prioritize the need to issue protective laws in favor of the many document-less women and children, are anti-human rights in their attitudes. Women and young children are especially vulnerable to abuse and are less likely to seek justice and legal redressal due to their status. Violent crimes such as domestic violence, sexual abuse, incest, and rape are less likely to be reported and the population of women and children are compelled to suffer in silence without hope for either psycho-social support or legal help. It is not as if facilities and services for them are non-existent; the issue lies with the basic pre-requisite of having paperwork in order that cannot be met, which in turn, is why help cannot be sought nor provided. In the workplace too, similar forms of exploitation occur which include but are not limited to, false employment, less pay than what was promised, being forced to work overtime without compensation, no medical insurance or accident coverage for those working in factories and in the construction business, no maternity leave for expectant mothers, and no benefits which would usually be provided to employees. A number of illegal manufacturing units, namely the narcotics industry, often exploit young, desperate immigrants, thus introducing them to a life of crime, which they cannot escape from. Human trafficking of women and children under the guise of getting them employment or introducing them to the entertainment industry is another means through which hapless women are rendered stranded in an alien country without their paperwork. In many cases, their documents are seized by traffickers and pimps who entrap them with the threat of what would happen to them if they were to be caught and deported.
The need for Immigration reforms in the US is growing urgently with each passing day as media reports of human rights violations against immigrant women and children are increasing at an alarming rate. Currently all Immigration related matters are stalled due to lack of cooperation from Conservative Republicans who are not in favor of the “U” visa which can be issued to those immigrants who are victims of violence and trafficking. However it is hoped that with an increase in documentation of the lives and struggles of immigrant women and children along with consistent advocacy by concerned groups, legal rights for this vulnerable population will become a reality soon.