Some students may have been surprised to attend a Women’s History Month presentation about current immigration policy problems and how they affect women.
Sandra Fluke spoke last night at the Berg Auditorium in the Life Sciences building. The Center for Women Students at Penn State hosted the women’s rights advocate as a part of Women’s History Month.
Fluke is known for her testimony before the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee as a law student about providing access to contraception.
She graduated cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center as a Public Interest Law Scholar with a certificate in refugee and humanitarian emergencies.
Fluke said she thinks it’s just as important to think about the kind of history being made right now.
“I really do believe this is our moment for getting our women’s history right,” Fluke said.
Fluke focused her talk on immigration issues facing women that need to be considered in immigration reform.
“Immigration is unique for women,” Fluke said.
In order to obtain a visa, immigrants need residency and work history. Because many immigrant women are traditional, their names may not be listed on leases, and they may not have jobs outside of the home, Fluke said.
Gender should not determine the outcome of whether someone gets a visa, Fluke said. More women than men are migrating into the country now, she added.
There are over 5 million undocumented women in the country, she said.
Many problems can arise for undocumented women, such as exploitation and violence, she said.
If a woman is being abused, she might not want to risk being deported by going to the police. There are some ways to get around this fear so that women get help, but they’re flawed, Fluke said.
One of the solutions is U Visas. If someone is a victim of a crime, and is willing to cooperate with prosecution, they may be granted a U Visa. The problem is, there is a cap on the number of U Visas issued every year, she said.
Fluke stressed the need for immigration reform.
Now is the time for people to speak up, she said. “Make your immigrant brothers’ and sisters’ fight your fight,” she said.
A Q&A session followed the presentation.
Some students gained a new perspective from the talk.
“I thought [the talk] was very informative. When we think about women we don’t usually think about immigrant women,” said Sydney Bickford (senior-psychology).
Others were pleased with the content of the talk.
“I think she’s really wonderful. [The talk] was everything I expected and more,” said Keighlyn Alber (junior-women studies).