A new op-ed published by Univision earlier this week highlights the immense impact the Supreme Court’s DAPA and DACA+ decision could have on the everyday lives of undocumented mothers and women.
Maria Reza, a member of UWD’s University Leadership Initiative, and Miriam Cadenas, a Raiz Volunteer and Promotora de Salud, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, remind us that undocumented women and mothers not only face daily fears of being separated from their families, but also face serious challenges in living healthy lives because of their legal statuses.
“DAPA would permit our mothers to travel to receive health care freely, with valid forms of immigration identification and documentation, and confide in their doctors without worrying that they will be turned in to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody,” write Reza and Cadenas.
In a widely-publicized case last year, an undocumented woman was arrested before a routine gynecological exam after clinic staff turned her in to authorities because she had a fake ID. “We all deserve access to compassionate and confidential care and to be safe and healthy, regardless of our gender or immigration status,” write Meza and Cadena.
“We are womxn and we are immigrants”.
A portion of the op-ed, “We Are Two Undocumented Women & the Supreme Court Will Decide Our Fate this Month,” is excerpted below. Click the link to read the full piece in full:
The attempts to block implementation of DAPA and the expansion of DACA underscore the complete disregard many politicians have for the health and safety of our communities. DAPA and the expansion of DACA will give our loved ones — parents, single parents, and adults without children — the chance to remain in the same country together and work toward a better world for our communities. And that better world is contingent not only on being able to keep our families together but the ability of our families to access health care. DAPA and DACA are invaluable – they are an important step to breaking down the maze of barriers we encounter when seeking reproductive health care.
While DACA has allowed us to access reproductive health services at our universities or through employer-sponsored health insurance, DAPA would permit our mothers to travel to receive health care freely, with valid forms of immigration identification and documentation, and confide in their doctors without worrying that they will be turned in to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody. Though DAPA and DACA eliminate the fear of deportation for many, they are also an incomplete solution. Ultimately, unfettered access to the care women like us and our families need, including the ability to fully participate in the Affordable Care Act and to be permanently integrated into the United States on a path to citizenship, are the solution.
Too often, racial profiling, immigrant detention, and deportations increase health needs in immigrant communities. We have seen how these barriers place many at risk of dying from preventable diseases. For instance, many immigrants are less likely to receive screenings for and more likely to die from breast and cervical cancers, and some immigrant groups have higher rates of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections than others in the United States. All of these health issues could be detected, and in some cases prevented, with equal access to care.
We all deserve access to compassionate and confidential care and to be safe and healthy, regardless of our gender or immigration status. We are womxn and we are immigrants.
A person’s right to self-determination should not depend on where they live or where they are from. We demand the autonomy to make decisions about ourselves—the families we choose to create, the place we choose to live, and how we take care of our health.
We won DACA, we will win immigration reform, and we will protect and expand reproductive rights no matter what happens this June. Throughout history, we have been resilient despite political attempts to control our bodies, and we continue to be strong in the face of adversity. The battle for our dignity and respect at the Supreme Court is only the beginning — we will continue to fight until everyone in our community is able to live a safe, healthy and empowered life.
We are finally able to build our future because the fear of deportation is no longer in control of our daily lives. We choose what’s best for ourselves and we are not going back.
We are Maria Reza and Miriam Cadenas, and we’re undocumented and unafraid.