Last month, YWCAs from across the nation were on Capitol Hill, advocating for Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) particularly as it impacts women and children. This was part of the National YWCA Conference, “What Women Want.”
YWCA Asheville Executive Director Beth Maczka and Board Member Sue Lomenzo had the pleasure of meeting with Representative Patrick McHenry and Representative Mark Meadows. They also met with staff members for Senator Kay Hagen and Senator Richard Burr during Capitol Hill Day. They discussed the importance of U- and T-visas for survivors of domestic violence who are also aspiring citizens, and advocated for funding to support programs that combat violence against women.
Excerpts from the YWCA USA blog:
It was a historic year for Capitol Hill Day. This was the highest attendance ever recorded since Hill Day started in 2006, with 288 attendees making their rounds with Senators and Representatives, and a total of 291 visits with Republicans and Democrats alike. It is truly impressive to have had so many waves of persimmon walking through the halls of Congress.
Immigration reform is a women’s issue and a racial justice issue. There are numerous facts that often get lost in the policy and politics, and it is for this reason that the YWCA is looking at CIR through a gender lens and telling Congress to craft legislation that takes into account the unique needs of women and families. Three-fourths of immigrants are women and children. Women now make up 51% of the undocumented immigrant population, and 100 immigrant women arrive in the US for every 96 men. Immigrant women play a vital role in our economy, and are often the ones caring for children, the elderly, and the sick. The majority of women migrate to reunite with family, make a better life for their children, or escape oppression, discrimination, and violence that prevent them from living full and free lives in their home countries.