Female Senator Points Out Immigration Bill Kinda Screws Women Over


Are you a member of the teeming huddled masses? Are you a foreigner who has been exhibiting symptoms of the American Dream for two weeks without relief? Well, help is on the way in the form of a massive immigration overhaul that has a good chance of passing by the 4th of July (or dying, and in the process doing even more to bolster the GOP’s unfortunate image as a club for Biblethumping racists and their self-hating brown friends — BUT I DIGRESS). While some aspects of the proposed Senate bill should be applauded, others — as badass Hawaiian Senator Mazie Hirono pointed out yesterday — are kinda shitty to women.

Hirono takes issue with the bill’s point system, which gives preferential treatment to potential immigrants with marketable job skills and higher levels of education. Problem is, in many other countries, the opportunity to obtain advanced job skills and higher education is limited to men. In a floor speech yesterday, Hirono remarked that the point system “cements” discriminatory treatment of women in other countries into American immigration laws. She also criticized the bill’s lack of a “sibling” category on visa applications, saying,

The biggest losers in the bill’s new point system will be unmarried sisters of U.S. citizens. Why? Because the new system not only makes it harder for women to immigrate here, but it eliminates visas for siblings of citizens, while allowing new immigrants to bring their spouses. A woman who aspires to live with her family and work in the greatest country in the world should not have to get married to do that.

The Senator then said she plans to introduce an amendment that would allow siblings of citizens to apply for visas to remedy this. Hirono, America’s first Japanese-born Senator, was brought to the US by her mother, who was fleeing domestic abuse.

The Immigration Reform bill is still early on in the process of working through the peristalsis of Congress, but judging by the discussion surrounding the legislation this week, the debate is far from over.

[Mazie Hirono]

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