Women’s Delegation to Expose Human Rights Violations in the Wake of Georgia’s Anti-Immigrant Bill

For Immediate Release

Women’s Delegation to Expose Human Rights Violations in the Wake of Georgia’s Anti-Immigrant Bill

US Families Torn Apart by Country’s Unjust Immigration Laws With Women & Children Carrying the Burden; Dehumanizing Laws Criminalize Working Families, Hurt Economy

WASHINGTON - A delegation of women leaders from over two dozen national human rights organizations - National Domestic Workers Alliance, AFL-CIO, Center for Reproductive Rights, Moms Rising, National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum, Feminist Majority and many others - will travel to Georgia next week (9/28-29) as part of the growing national resistance to anti-immigrant laws. The delegation will hear the real stories of the women and children affected by Georgia’s anti-immigrant bill (HB 87), a copycat legislation of Arizona’s controversial and costly SB1070.

The We Belong Together Delegation will connect with those most gravely affected by Georgia’s new law and other regional anti-immigrant for a day of story-sharing (9/28) and a press conference in front of the State Capitol Building (9/29, 10:30am).

One of the many stories delegates will hear is that of Delmy Palencia, a New Orleans civil rights leader and mother, who was wrongfully arrested on a domestic violence charge and detained in prison, separated from her nursing baby, for 45 days. Although all charges were dropped, ICE used Secure Communities to request Palencia be further detained on an immigration hold. She was released after almost two months, subjected to an ICE-led night raid of her home and now faces deportation and separation from her US-born son. Palencia and the delegates are available for interviews.

“I’m going to Georgia to shed light on the real harm that anti-immigrant state laws are having on our nation’s children and to urge policymakers to consider the impact of these laws on the youngest members of our society,” says delegate Wendy Cervantes, Vice President of Immigration and Child Rights Policy for First Focus, a national children’s advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C. “As an advocate for children, I believe we must raise the visibility of the adverse impact of Georgia’s copycat bill on the well-being of our future generation.”

In Georgia, just like in Arizona, parts of the anti-immigrant proposals have survived judicial scrutiny, with real impacts yet unknown.  HB 87 threatens to:

·         Separate families (children from parents, even those children who are US-born);

·         Decrease reporting of crimes such as domestic violence and sexual assault out of fear, by the victims (typically women), of deportation or detention― forcing women to avoid accessing vital public services for survivors of violence and undermining decades of work by women organizations to break the silence on violence against women;

·         Increase racial profiling with local police newly empowered to check immigration status of anyone suspected of violating any law (already an issue under the federal “Secure Communities” and “287g” programs), thus exposing the state to expensive lawsuits;

·         Hurt the state’s economy by driving out working families and increasing state-level boycotts by companies who don’t wish to associate with the negative PR of anti-immigration laws;

·         Increase imprisonment with sentences of up to 15 years for workers who use false identification to get hired; and

·         Hurt businesses by increasing workplace raids and mandating all businesses use a federal electronic verification system (E-Verify) to check that every worker has legal authorization.

 “Our nation has always included mothers and fathers who come to our shores seeking better lives for their families, but right now far too many immigrant families are having their human and civil rights violated in the name of immigration law enforcement,” says delegate Mary Olivella of Moms Rising, a group with more than one million members across the country.

In June 2010, after Arizona’s SB1070 was signed into law, a similar delegationwas organizedto Phoenix, Arizona. The work of the delegation led to three ad-hoc Congressional hearings in Washington, D.C. that brought in new Congressional support and kept women's stories in the public eye.  View the video from that delegation.

For more information on the delegation please visit www.domesticworkers.org/we-belong-together and contact Press Coordinator, Dana Balicki, with any requests.

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Founded in 2007, the National Domestic Workers Alliance organizes domestic workers in the United States for respect, recognition and labor standards. Through leadership development, strategic campaigns and alliance building we seek to help build a vibrant movement for social and global justice.

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