Women Immigrants, Work, and Families
Sullivan, Teresa A., National Forum
About 10.3 million foreign-born women were counted in the 1990 census of the United States. Although they constituted 4 percent of the total population and 53 percent of immigrants, women immigrants and their issues have received little attention in the continuing national debate over immigration. Aside from the occasional attention paid to prominent immigrant women, such as Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini or the defecting daughters of foreign dictators, women immigrants rarely attract popular attention. The principal reason for this apparent neglect has been the assumption that women are "tied immigrants" --that is, they immigrate because of the opportunities offered to other, usually male, members of their families.
United States immigration policy implicitly incorporates the stereotype of the tied immigrant woman. When legislation has been addressed explicitly to female immigration, it usually assumes that their entry into the country is tied to the movements of men. For example, as part of the series of Chinese Exclusion Acts in the late nineteenth century, female Chinese were forbidden to immigrate to preclude the development of families by Chinese immigrant men. By contrast, the entry of war brides and fiancees after World War II was facilitated by specific legislation, even though some of the women immigrated from the then-proscribed Asian Triangle and would not otherwise have been allowed to enter the country. The family reunification provisions in the 1965 amendments to the Immigration and Nationality Act were touted as humanitarian gestures to allow wives, sisters, and mothers to join their families already residing in the United States.
Our image of the woman immigrant needs updating for three reasons: changes in sending countries, changes in labor-market patterns, and changes in family patterns. Policymakers are again …
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Article title: Women Immigrants, Work, and Families. Contributors: Sullivan, Teresa A. - Author. Magazine title: National Forum. Volume: 74. Issue: 3 Publication date: Summer 1994. Page number: 34+. © 1999 Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi. COPYRIGHT 1994 Gale Group.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.