Unlike in the past, when most immigrants coming to the U.S. were men, the majority of newcomers are now women, according to a recent poll. A panel of high-profile immigration experts and advocates met Wednesday in New York to discuss the policy implications of this change in immigration patterns. (FI2W reported on the poll findings when NAM released them in May.)
The discussion at the auditorium of the Ford Foundation was part of a series of events held by immigrant advocacy groups to bring the face of immigrant women to center-stage before the debate on immigration reform begins in Congress later this year.
Changing the story seems to be the name of the game at this moment. Angela Kelley, vice president for immigration policy and advocacy at the Center for American Progress, cast it this way:
Americans are told that immigrants are different, that they come here to get benefits, that they don’t want to learn English or become Americans. But this poll tells us that the story is different. Most immigrants are hard-working women, wives and mothers, who shared American values. They come here to work and get a better future for their children, they want to learn English and become citizens.
According to the poll, contrary to the notion that immigrants come from broken families, 90 percent of immigrant women manage to raise their children in intact marriages. The same is true for about 65 percent of American women with children.