WASHINGTON – Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) took to the Senate floor on June 13 to highlight two major flaws in the immigration reform bill currently being debated in the Senate.

Sen. Mazie Hirono

In her remarks, Hirono pointed out how the new merit-based immigration system that gives preference to potential immigrants with high-level education and technical expertise would heavily disadvantage women, since women across the globe do not have the same educational and career opportunities as men.

“Women in too many other countries do not have the same educational or career advancement opportunities available to men in those countries,” Hirono said. “In practice, the bill’s new point system takes that discriminatory treatment abroad and cements it into our immigration laws, making it harder for women to come to our country than for men.”

She also criticized how the bill requires immigrant taxpayers to pay the same taxes as everyone else but blocks these taxpayers from utilizing safety net programs for at least 13 years.

“Imagine that you buy homeowner’s insurance, but the policy won’t cover your house if it catches fire until 13 years after you start paying premiums. That is obviously not fair. But that is exactly the situation in which we are putting immigrants who are on the pathway to citizenship,” Hirono said.

Hirono called on her colleagues to fix these parts of the bill and said she is working with her colleagues on amendments that would do just that.

To read Hirono’s full statement, click here.

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