Unequal Pay Day for Immigrant Women
Each year Equal Pay Day highlights the continued disparity in pay between men and women in the United States. In 2011 women who worked full time and year round earned only 77 cents to every dollar earned by men. That wage gap persists and is even more pronounced in the immigrant community: An immigrant woman who has naturalized earns just 75 cents to a naturalized man’s dollar, and undocumented immigrant women from Mexico are even more disadvantaged, earning only 71 cents for every dollar that undocumented men from Mexico earn.
There are 5.4 million undocumented women living in America, and those who are employed are perhaps the most underpaid workers in the workforce due to the double wage disparity that is a consequence of gender-based and immigration-status-based discrimination.
Correcting the gender wage gap in the United States will require a host of actions, including passing the Paycheck Fairness Act, which prohibits gender-based pay discrepancies and bans workplace policies that don’t allow employees to disclose their wages to each other. Common-sense immigration reform that includes a road map to citizenship would represent a significant step toward pay equity. As we move into the congressional debate on wage disparities and immigration reform, let us consider the women who are earning far less money than they deserve and remember that reform is not just about fixing a broken immigration system; it can also be a step toward gender equality.
Ann Garcia is a Policy Analyst for the Immigration Policy team at the Center for American Progress. Patrick Oakford is a Research Assistant in the Economic Policy department at the Center.
To speak with our experts on this topic, please contact:
Print: Liz Bartolomeo (poverty, health care)
202.481.8151 or email@example.com
Print: Tom Caiazza (foreign policy, energy and environment, LGBT issues, gun-violence prevention)
202.481.7141 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Print: Allison Preiss (economy, education)
202.478.6331 or email@example.com
Print: Tanya Arditi (immigration, Progress 2050, race issues, demographics, criminal justice, Legal Progress)
202.741.6258 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Print: Chelsea Kiene (women's issues, TalkPoverty.org, faith)
202.478.5328 or email@example.com
Spanish-language and ethnic media: Rafael Medina
202.478.5313 or firstname.lastname@example.org
TV: Rachel Rosen
202.483.2675 or email@example.com
Radio: Sally Tucker
202.481.8103 or firstname.lastname@example.org