7:10 PM EDT
Tammy Duckworth, D-IL 8th

Ms. DUCKWORTH. Mr. Speaker, achieving immigration reform is not just an issue of security or economics; it is also an issue of women's rights. It is women who disproportionately bear the brunt of our inability to fix the immigration system. Undocumented women are more likely to suffer from domestic violence, poor work conditions, or be victims of human trafficking. They are afraid to demand justice for crimes that are committed against them, and they are afraid of retaliation and deportation.

A pathway to citizenship is critical to putting an end to a system that encourages the exploitation of women. Far too many mothers have been separated from their children because our immigration system does not value family unity and parental rights. Family values are American values. Women waiting decades to reunite with their families is not acceptable.

Ensuring that our family-based immigration policies are strong and that they come with rights to employment are key to promoting the well-being of women. We benefit as a Nation when women have the ability to reach their full potential. With the help of women, it is projected that comprehensive immigration reform will reduce our deficit by $1 trillion over 10 years.

I know that my neighbors care about women's rights and care about keeping families together. That is why we need to pass comprehensive immigration reform now.