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Hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on “How Comprehensive Immigration Reform Should Address the Needs of Women and Families”

WASHINGTON D.C., March 18, 2013— The Women’s Refugee Commission welcomes an historic hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee entitled “How Comprehensive Immigration Reform Should Address the Needs of Women and Families. The hearing coincides with a month-long advocacy campaign, March for Immigrant Women: A Month of Action for Citizenship, Families and Justice.

Immigrant women are integral building blocks of thriving and successful communities in the United States, are vital to this country’s economy and contribute significantly to its growth. Historically, however, immigration law has disproportionately disadvantaged women, and by extension their families. Family is a core value for women. The desire to be with family, and to make a better life for their family, is one of the primary reasons why women come to the United States.

Our immigration policies once placed great value on family unity, and this focus contributed to the development of strong communities and a successful and diverse country,” said Michelle Brané, Director of the Women’s Refugee Commission’s Migrant Rights and Justice Program. “Regrettably, family unity has been eroded in recent years by inefficiencies in the family-based visa system and overly zealous immigration enforcement that is tearing families apart. It is paramount that efforts to reform our immigration laws restore the primacy of family unity and provide women and their families with opportunities to contribute to the common good now and in the future.”

As Congress works to bring our immigration laws into alignment with the realities of modern migration flows, it is critical that the needs and lived realities of women, children and families are fully, fairly and equitably addressed. This hearing will represent an essential first step in addressing this issue, and the Women’s Refugee Commission urges the Senate Judiciary Committee to consider the detrimental impact of current immigration policy on the safety and success of women and families, and to work towards the development of legislation that honors and encourages their contributions and puts them on an expedient pathway to becoming full citizens of the United States.

The hearing will convene at 2:00 PM in Dirksen Senate Building Room 226. Senator Mazie Hirono will preside.

Michelle Brané is available to comment at 646.717.7191.