Undocumented women comprise more than half of immigrants in this country, and their experiences are unique. While these mujeres are celebrated for leading movements around workers, migrant, immigrant and environmental justice, they are also among the most vulnerable to abuse and immigration enforcement. Step Forward, a new website, hopes to address these challenges by ensuring that immigrant women are aware of their rights.
The website – created by We Belong Together and the Immigration Advocates Network (IAN) in partnership with the National Domestic Workers Alliance, Pro Bono Net and the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum – launched Tuesday, appropriately on International Women’s Day.
The site, accessible on mobile, provides mujeres with tools, resources and up-to-date information about their, and their families’, immigration options and rights, which is all available in both English and Spanish.
The goal: to provide women with the knowledge they need to make empowered decisions.
The website includes an online self-screening tool to help the women determine if they qualify for different forms of immigration relief as well as referrals to trusted nonprofit legal service providers to further assist them on their journey. There’s also information on what to do in case of immigration raids and resources for survivors of violence and abuse.
These services, along with regular news updates on immigrations policies like Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) and the expansion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), are available for free with a click of a button.
Even more, the website allows mujeres to share their own stories.
“Before, I didn’t think that I had any rights because I was undocumented. For twelve years my ex-husband abused me. He told me that if I called the police for help he would report me to immigration. Every day that I left to go to work I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to come home to my children,” writes Adriana Cazorla, an advocate and domestic worker. “I didn’t know there were programs that could help women like me until I finally met a social worker who told me about VAWA. My children and I are safe now, but we will always be scarred by those twelve years of abuse and fear of deportation.”
She’s not alone. Live for less than 24 hours, and undocumented women have already shared narratives on everything from the violence they escaped in their homeland, the abuse they endured in the U.S., having family members locked up in detention centers, organizing for change and so much more.
For more, visit Step Forward at www.womenstepforward.org.