As our nation’s leaders begin drafting their immigration reform proposals, and on this International Women’s Day on which we collectively call for women’s advancement, here are the top 10 facts you must know about immigrant women. Approximately 45 percent of undocumented immigrants and 34 percent of legal immigrants live in families comprised of couples and children, while only 21 percent of native-born Americans live in families. Immigrant women—similar to most women—make enormous sacrifices for their families.
All too often, however, media portrayals of immigrants feature a single Hispanic male without status. Until the 1960s immigrant men outnumbered immigrant women.They estimate that another 15,000 children will end up in foster care in the next five years because of immigration enforcement.Immigrant women in particular face a burden when it comes to immigration enforcement: A recent CAP report by Joanna Dreby, assistant professor of sociology at Kent State University, finds that detentions and deportations often separate married couples, leaving single parents—and most often single mothers—struggling to cope with the burdens of supporting their families. Immigrant women workers are vulnerable to abuse at work and at home.In reality, immigrant women in the United States—both documented and undocumented—comprise more than half of all U. immigrants, start businesses at higher rates than American-born women, and are often the ones that push hardest in their families to become American citizens. But after the passage of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which largely shifted the United States to a system of family-based admissions, more women began to arrive.The flipside of this industriousness and drive, however, is often dire. In 2011 51.1 percent of all foreign-born individuals residing in the United States—and 55 percent of all people obtaining a green card—were women. By the 1970s the number of female immigrants caught up and surpassed their male counterparts. According to a report by the Asian Pacific American Legal Center, 70 percent of immigrant women gain permanent residence in the United States through family-based visas as opposed to employment-based visas.