The pattern of attacks on immigrants—which deny them the freedom to make their own decisions about their families and their future—must be part of the fight for reproductive justice.
The past few months have been abysmal for immigrants in the U.S.—between children dying in federal custody, immigrants being scammed and lied to by the lawyers they pay to help them, and migrants being killed in our communities. Meanwhile, Florida’s cruel anti-immigrant law is forcing people to leave the state. All the while, we continue to see craven politicians sending migrants to Vice President Harris’ home, using real human lives as a way to score political points.
We need President Biden to keep his promise and pass reforms for a more human and fair immigration system immediately. Immigrants’ lives depend on it.
If you care about our ability to make our own decisions about our families, then you should care about attacks on immigrants that could separate people from their loved ones.
I’m an immigrant myself. My family’s experience is similar to others: We came to this country for a better life. We immigrated from Mexico City to California so that my brother could get the medical care he needed. I know firsthand that far too many of our families live in constant fear of the threat of deportation, detention and separation. This pushes us further into hiding and prevents us from living healthy and safe lives.
Reproductive justice affirms that all of us have the right to decide if and when to have children and to parent those children in safe and sustainable communities. If you care about our ability to make our own decisions about our families, then you should care about attacks on immigrants and policies that could separate people from their loved ones. Immigrant justice is reproductive justice.
The pattern of attacks on immigrants to deny them the freedom to make their own decisions about their families and their future must be a part of the dialogue in the fight for reproductive justice. In fact, those who are perpetuating these attacks on immigrant communities are often the same people who are attacking access to abortion care.
Since Roe v. Wade was overturned, ending the constitutional right to abortion, Latinas in this country have been the most impacted by abortion bans. And for Latinas without documentation in Texas—where U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents set up internal checkpoints along all major routes—accessing abortion care is nearly impossible, as traveling to another state for abortion care means risking family separation, detention and deportation.
Harmful immigration policies can make immigrants less likely to seek healthcare at all due to the fear they create. This fear is stoked by an increase in discriminatory immigration enforcement policies, often seen in the presence of Border Patrol or I.C.E. officers at clinics and hospitals. Combined with state restrictions, economic barriers and a host of other obstacles, this climate of fear and uncertainty is affecting the decisions of immigrants who need access to abortion care, which becomes more expensive and harder to obtain when delayed.
Time and again, Latinas bear the brunt of extreme policies that rob us of the tools we need to stay healthy, make decisions about when or whether to become parents and raise our families with dignity and safety. We cannot stand by while immigrants are being persecuted and killed and families torn apart by these terrible immigration policies.
This climate of fear and uncertainty is affecting the decisions of immigrants who need access to abortion care, which becomes more expensive and harder to obtain when delayed.
It’s time for real change. We need policies that support our whole lives, including better access to hospitals and clinics, healthcare provided by people our communities trust, insurance that covers our real needs, a path to citizenship, and policies that support families and individuals to thrive, like the HEAL for Immigrant Families Act.
At the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice, we’re committed to working with immigrant communities to raise their voices so they can make their own decisions about their futures. We urge the Biden Administration to do everything in their power to protect immigrants and improve our immigration system that continues to fail our communities and our country.
Head here for more information about the Latina Institute and to get involved in reproductive justice.
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