06 May 2010

In Honor of Mother's Day, Speak Out for Immigrant Women's Rights

Ms. Foundation for Women grantee National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH) is speaking out about the injustices visited upon immigrant women in communities nationwide.

In Tuesday's Roll Call, NLIRH's executive director, Silvia Henriquez -- 2010 Ms. Foundation Woman of Vision awardee -- published a stirring opinion piece underscoring the price immigrant women and their families are paying as a result of misguided immigration policies like the one recently signed into law in Arizona. Take the case of Juana Villegas, a Latina living in Tennessee, who, two years ago,
...was arrested for a routine traffic violation in Nashville after leaving a clinic for a pre-natal visit and detained when she was unable to produce a license. Despite the fact that driving without a license is a misdemeanor in Tennessee that generally leads to a citation, Ms. Villegas was taken into custody due to suspicions about her immigration status.

Ms. Villegas was jailed for six days, during which time she gave birth to a little boy while shackled to a bed under the watchful eye of the sheriff's officer. Barred from speaking to her husband, her baby was taken from her upon birth... local police also confiscated Villegas' breast pump.
Stories like Villegas' highlight how desperately our immigration policies require reform -- and how painfully our broken system can impact women's lives. In honor of Mother's Day, take the time to read the entirety of Henriquez's piece, and encourage your friends to do the same. It's time to shed light on how immigration policies deny women, and their families, the humanity they deserve.

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