Immigrant women excluded from birth control policy, immigrant families at risk of losing child tax credit, 2/7-2/14

14 Feb

Bishops Reject White House’s New Plan on Contraception, New York Times, 2-11-12
Republicans Target Child Tax Break For Illegal Immigrants, Fox News, 2-9-12

This week, after ongoing pressure from women’s health advocates, the Obama administration made some final “tweaks” to a policy to ensure that employees of religiously-affiliated organizations will have access to birth control without co-pays.  While critical, this is not a victory for all women in the US.  Due to their legal status, immigrant women who are not citizens will have limited access to the women’s health services provided under the Affordable Care Act, leaving them at risk for unplanned pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases and cervical cancer.
Call Congress today!  The Earned Income Tax Credit at risk…
As the debate over women’s health played out loudly and publicly, another battle has been quietly progressing.  House Republicans have proposed to pay for the extension of the payroll tax break by ending the child tax credit for parents who file taxes without a Social Security number.  This credit provides an average of $1,800 per year per family and goes to households with 4 million children.  If made law, millions of dollars in tax credits would be denied to low-income families.
Our nation’s immigration policies create a class of residents who are not only denied many rights, but who are vulnerable to our ongoing political and culture wars, such as the public fight over access to birth control and the behind-closed-doors negotiations over the child tax credit.
The last couple of weeks have shown that grass-roots efforts, whether on-line petitions or Facebook organizing, can have a successful impact on policy and societal attitudes. Therefore, it is critical to take action to ensure that immigrants benefit from our health and social policies and programs.  Here are some suggestions of what you can do:

  • Join advocates who have been organizing against the threat to the child tax credit with the National Call in Day.  Call Senators Harry Reid (202-224-3542) and Max Baucus (202-224-2651) TODAY!
  • Support groups, such as the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, who recognize that immigration reform is “a matter of reproductive justice.”
  • Support effective programs that serve immigrants, such as California’s Family Planning, Access, Care and Treatment which has demonstrated their success in preventing unplanned pregnancies and, yes, saving tax pay dollars.    

In other news:
Court ruling could prompt more deportation reviews, AP, 2-11-12
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled to delay the deportation of seven undocumented immigrants until their cases are reviewed, as specified by the Obama administration in August 2011.  The ruling will likely result in pressure for the administration to review cases and provide an opening for other immigrants to seek reviews.
For battered immigrant women, fear of deportation becomes abusers’ weapon, The Washington Post, 2-8-12
Fear of being deported often keeps undocumented victims of domestic abuse silent, but they have rights under the law, including to a special visa that is set aside for crime victims.

Fear of Deportation Kept L.A. School’s Parents From Reporting Sex Abuse, Colorlines, 2-10-12

In the aftermath of a recent revelation that two teachers have been engaged in ongoing sexual abuse of students, many parents at Miramonte Elementary School, in unincorporated Los Angeles County, are afraid to cooperate with the police because of possible negative consequences related to their immigration status. Angelica Salas, executive director of the Human Rights Coalition of Los Angeles stated: “Many of the parents with information about the case are afraid there may be negative consequences (deportation). Unfortunately, their fear is not unfounded, we have seen how people have been arrested and deported for selling ice cream on the streets.”

CA Court’s Prop. 8 Ruling Does Not Benefit Undocumented, New America Media, 2-8-12

New America Media reporter Zaineb Mohammed speaks with Elizabeth Gill, staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union’s LGBT and AIDS project regarding the limitations of the Proposition 8 ruling, released this week, for same-sex immigrants.

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