Immigration Policy, Settlement Service, and Immigrant Mothers in Neoliberal Canada: A Feminist Analysis

By Zhu, Yidan | Canadian Ethnic Studies Journal, Summer 2016 | Go to article overview

Immigration Policy, Settlement Service, and Immigrant Mothers in Neoliberal Canada: A Feminist Analysis


Zhu, Yidan, Canadian Ethnic Studies Journal


Abstract

This paper critically reviews the current literature on immigration and settlement and provides a feminist analysis. It places a particular emphasis on immigrant mothers' experience in order to reframe research on Canadian immigration policies and practice. Through discussing how the three waves of feminism led to the historical development of Canadian immigration policies and settlement practice, this paper examines Nancy Fraser's (2008) thinking about the welfare state, "misframing," and neoliberalism for rethinking the "gender neutral" literature on immigration policies and settlement services.

Resume

Cet article passe en revue d'un ceil critique la litterature actuelle sur l'immigration et l'etablissement d'etrangers et en fait l'analyse sous un regard feministe. Il met particulierement en exergue l'experience des meres immigrees afin de recadrer la recherche sur les politiques et la pratique en matiere d'immigration au Canada. En debattant de la maniere dont les trois vagues feministes ont historiquement mene au developpement des politiques d'immigration et pratiques d'etablissement d'etrangers au Canada, cet article examine les reflexions de Nancy Fraser (2008) sur l'etat providence, le << mauvais cadrage >>, et le neoliberalisme pour repenser la litterature << soit-disant independante du genre >> des politiques d'immigration et des services d'etablissement des etrangers.

INTRODUCTION

In the past twenty years, an increasing number of studies have examined immigration settlement policies and practice in Canada. These studies pay great attention to federal-provincial-municipal governmental relations on settlement issues (Clement, Carter, and Vineberg 2013; Tolley and Young 2011); history and ISOs' organizational/institutional change (Doyle and Rahi 1987; Reitz 2001); handing and distribution of delivery of settlement services (Mwarigha 1997; Sadiq 2005); and immigrants' needs in settlement programs (Beyene 2000). However, most studies do not examine immigration settlement policies and practice from a feminist perspective.

The concepts of settlement, immigrants' needs, and the welfare state are problematic in that they have been constructed within an androcentric, capitalist, and imperialist discourse. These concepts should be understood through people's actual experience. Immigrant women's/mothers' experiences have long been ignored. Immigrant women closely interact with changing immigration policy and settlement services. Despite multicultural policies and access to settlement services, immigrant women/mothers still face tremendous barriers in settlement including the gendered wage gap, unpaid care work, lack of support for childcare, and the racialization and marginalization of their everyday experience.

In this paper, I critically review the current literature and provide a feminist analysis of Canadian immigration settlement policies and services and argue that immigrant women's/mothers' experiences play a crucial role in reframing research on Canadian immigration and settlement. I explore three questions: How have neoliberal immigration policies and settlement practices been framed? How do immigrant mothers interact with neoliberal restructuring? How do we understand the interaction between the changing immigration policies and practice and immigrant mothers' experience? The paper comprises three parts. First, I review the literature on Canadian immigration policy and settlement services under the contextual framework of neoliberalism. Second, I examine the institutionalization of Canadian immigration policies and settlement practice from the perspective of immigrant mothers. Finally, I review the interaction between three waves of feminism and immigration policies in Canada. I analyze Nancy Fraser's work on welfare, "misframing," and neoliberalism to reflect the "gender neutral" literature on immigration policies and settlement services. …

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