The Advocacy Action Team is working to address Comprehensive Immigration Reform along with YWCA USA.
YWCA Madison is deeply committed to advocating for a common-sense immigration process that keeps families together here in Wisconsin, provides adequate protection for immigrant victims of sexual violence and trafficking, and creates a pathway to citizenship for the quarter-million immigrants who aspire to be citizens. We are working hard to integrate these aspiring Americans into the fabric of our community. While a path to citizenship is a large part of comprehensive immigration reform that would address the needs of the 11 million estimated aspiring Americans in the country, there are many other components to this reform that would help immigrant women and families including: allowing access to affordable health care and economic safety nets, prioritizing family reunification by creating a fast-track for visas for immediate family members and clearing the current backlog on visas for immediate family members, and strengthening provisions that protect immigrant victims of domestic and sexual violence and trafficking.
Why focus on Comprehensive Immigration Reform?
- Immigrants are helping to grow the US economy, not just in big cities as we’d expect. They are helping to fill labor shortages on America’s farms, starting businesses that employ US workers, and developing new products. It makes both humanitarian and economic sense to support comprehensive immigration reform.
- Wisconsin is home to nearly 275,000 immigrants; a number that has grown tremendously. Over the past decade, the number of immigrants in Wisconsin grew by 72%, more than double the national average. This is to our benefit; our state’s immigrant populations add to the state’s cultural diversity and uniqueness, Wisconsin’s education system and the state’s economy extensively. Source: Map the Impact.
- Over 10,300 businesses in Wisconsin are owned by immigrants and from 2006 to 2010, those businesses brought in an average of almost $600 million in revenue each year—or 4.6% of the state total! Undocumented immigrants who enroll in a legal path to citizenship will generate more than 6,800 jobs and more than $547 million for the state by 2020. Source: Map the Impact.
- Immigrants also play a vital role in staffing Wisconsin’s dairy industry—a sector that contributes up to $26.5 billion to our economy each year. According to University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers, immigrants make up more than 40% of Wisconsin’s dairy farm workforce. Source: Map the Impact.