Commentary Violence

The Call: A Choice No Mother Should Face

Mallika Dutt

As the rights of women are increasingly under attack in the continuing “war on women,” an entire population deeply affected by this conversation continues to be largely ignored: immigrant women.

Today, Breakthrough, a global human rights organization, released a short film, “The Call,” that tells the story of millions of immigrant women forced by inhumane U.S. immigration policy to choose between keeping their children safe today and keeping their families together for good. As the rights of women are increasingly under attack in the continuing “war on women,” an entire population deeply affected by this conversation continues to be largely ignored: immigrant women. 

The film, which is inspired by the stories of real-life undocumented immigrant women encountered by Breakthrough, shows the emotional struggles of an immigrant family as they grapple with the choice between seeking medical care when their daughter is violently attacked and the risk that doing so could trigger the mother’s deportation—and tear the family apart. The mother and daughter in the film are played by real-life mother and daughter Zuleyma Guevara (Sonia) and Yadira Guevara (Teresa).

“As anyone who watches the film can see, cruel immigration policies rip families apart and force immigrant women to hide in the shadows,” said Breakthrough president and CEO Mallika Dutt, who also wrote this important article on the subject for Rewire this past April.

These women share our values of family, community and country. They contribute to our economy by creating jobs and growing new businesses. But we continue to deny their basic human rights. It’s time that we all stand up for these women — our neighbors and friends, our mothers and sisters. Please share this film to say #ImHere for the rights of immigrant women.

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Federal immigration policies and state laws such as Arizona’s harsh SB 1070 are creating human rights crises in communities around the country. These laws legitimize racism, racial profiling, and the scapegoating of immigrants. They enforce cruel conditions that needlessly separate mothers from their children and restrict access to basic health care and education.

In the first six months of 2011, the U. S. deported more than 46,000 persons whose children are United States citizens. Currently there are 5,100 U.S. children living in foster care who are unable to reunite with their detained or deported families.

The broken immigration system also forces women to choose between the threat of an abusive partner and the threat of deportation if they call the police. A critical mass of #ImHere change agents, acting as one voice, can compel the presidential candidates to publicly acknowledge the abuses faced by immigrant women.

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