NNIRR’s Statement on International Women’s Day 2023

On International Women’s Day, NNIRR calls on the US government to uphold the human rights of women and girls along their migration journeys

Photo: Cathi Tactaquin, Women in Migration Network, NYC March 8, 2023

On this International Women’s Day, NNIRR honors the lives of the millions of women and girls in migration and calls on our governments at all levels to uphold the human rights of all women, regardless of their immigration status.

In 2020, the United Nations estimated that nearly 48% of the global migrant population were women and girls, or approximately 135 million. Women are increasingly forced to leave their homes as a result of political, economic, or social instability, war, and climate-related disasters. However, governments around the world respond by investing heavily on militarized migration regimes to deter and control their mobilities, relying heavily on deportation and incarceration, and pushing women, girls, and families to the most dangerous routes. Militarized migration regimes have a profound impact on the human rights of girls and women in migration. Restrictive immigration policies are particularly harmful to women and force them into situations or conditions where they are highly vulnerable due to their gender and irregular status. Despite multiple reports on the lethal effects of a militarized response to migration, government officials at the national and subnational levels continue to promote this as the key solution.

Just yesterday, the New York Times reported the Biden administration is considering reviving the dehumanizing practice of family detention. This report follows the administration’s announcement that it intends to move forward with an asylum transit ban similar to the Trump-era transit ban that was blocked in federal court. Simultaneously, the State of Texas House Border Security and Public Safety Committee, held a hearing on border security and emergency management focusing largely on Operation Lone Star, a $4 billion program that targets and further criminalizes migrants through the expansion of border walls, increasing boots on the ground, and other forms of violent deterrence policies that increase human rights abuses and pushes women to dangerous and deadly situations.

On the occasion of International Women’s Day, we call upon the Biden administration and the immigrant rights community to reject security paradigms that rely heavily on militarization and deprive our communities of basic necessities and directly subject women and girls to overlapping forms of violence. We further urge Congress and the Biden administration to implement the following:

  1. Guarantee the human rights of all migrant women and girls regardless of migratory status, including LGBTQI women and girls.
  2. Protect women and girls from gender-based violence in all stages of migration, including on countries of origin,  transit, and destination.
  3. Ensure access to services, including access to mental, health, and sexual health services for all women in migration.
  4. Protect Family unity. Increase access to visas and programs to reunify families and an end to deportation programs that systematically separate families
  5. Increase inclusive, gender-sensitive, rights-based regular pathways to migration.  Ensure rights based-pathways with access to residency, family reunification, and citizenship for migrant women and people  in migration.
  6. Decriminalize migration. End the practice of immigration detention of children and families.
  7. Regularize the status of ALL women, migrants and their families and allow them to meaningfully and safely integrate into the social, economic, and cultural lives of our communities.

In solidarity,

The NNIRR Team