We Belong Together is an initiative of the National Domestic Workers Alliance and the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum, with the participation of women’s organizations, immigrant rights groups, children, and families across the country.
We Belong Together is a campaign to mobilize women in support of common-sense immigration reform that will keep families together and empower women. Immigration reform is rarely thought of as a women’s issue, but in fact it is central to the fight for women’s equality. Millions of immigrant women who are part of the fabric of our communities, workplaces, and schools are blocked from achieving their full potential because of a broken immigration system. They perform essential jobs, like taking care of our children and our aging parents, and are central to family and community well-being.
We believe that we have a responsibility to help our neighbors—no matter where they were born—and that all our children deserve a brighter future. As women, we especially know the importance of sticking together. We wouldn’t be where we are without the help and support of the women in our lives—our mothers, sisters, teachers, daughters and friends. As Americans, we honor and celebrate our nation’s unique commitment to protecting families and giving equal opportunities and respect to women and girls. This commitment must be reflected in our immigration laws as well.
Our current immigration system is not working for people born in the United States or for people born abroad. Any meaningful reform of our immigration system must include a fair and generous process that ensures that immigrant women have the opportunity to take care of themselves and their families, and bring their numerous contributions and talents to strengthen America. Specifically, immigration reform legislation must:
- Include a broad and clear roadmap to citizenship that recognizes the contributions of women’s work and women workers.
- Keep all families together.
- Recognize women’s work in future employment categories and protect women workers on the job.
- Ensure protections for survivors of violence and trafficking.
- Protect families and ensure due process.
- Promote immigrant integration that includes and empowers women.
We Belong Together was formed on Mothers’ Day 2010 when a group of women traveled to Arizona in the wake of the passage of the anti-immigrant law SB1070, to investigate how the new law would affect women, children and families in that state. What we heard were stories of abuse, of inhumane treatment and forcible, traumatic separation of mothers from their families, and children from their parents. In July of 2010, we organized a Congressional briefing to bring those stories to Washington, DC.
In September of 2011, We Belong Together traveled to Georgia, to hear how that state's new anti-immigrant law, HB 87, is affecting women, children and families. We then took a similar delegation to Alabama to hear about the impacts of that state’s own anti-immigrant law, HB 56. And we traveled to the US-Mexico border to meet with women who have been deported from the US and separated from their children. Each year, our A Wish for the Holidays campaigns allows thousands of children to express the importance of family and to give voice to a the shared wish: an end to deportations so that all families can stay together.