One Foot In: Stories of Expat Women in America
The documentary I have been working on, with filmmaker Enrica Cavalli, wants to reveal the gender bias hidden behind the U.S. immigration laws.
This election represented a new hope for immigrant women to be heard. Obama finally turned his attention on partners of H1B workers and gave them the chance to apply for work permit during the Green Card process. Hillary could have moved forward with the progress made and would have given more opportunities to immigrant women.
Today, we have to face the possibility that the new President Trump will repeal all the reforms that Obama made and put more limitations to immigration. The project “One Foot In” was born with the intention to reveal the gender bias in the immigration laws. In this moment of uncertainty for the future of immigration policy, be sure that we will keep on fighting to raise awareness.
America receives talent from all over the world every year and the immigration laws limit the potential of professional and talented women who could contribute to the economy. If America doesn’t want to lose talent during Trump’s presidency he will have to listen to the needs of immigrant and give opportunities to immigrant women.
Most of the H1B visas are granted for the science, technology, engineering and mathematics industries (STEM). It is not surprising that most of these visas go to men and recent data from the U.S. Immigration Statistics shows that only 30% of all the H1B visas are granted to women.
Many expat women come to the US as spouses of H1B holders. They are allowed to stay but they cannot work. As a consequence, thousands of women have no other choice other than putting their careers on hold. If in a family there is only one person working, the income is lower and the money spent focuses on basic necessities. If both people work, they can spend more money and contribute to the economy. Even if immigrant women want to launch their own business and create new jobs for Americans, they are not allowed to work.
Foreign mothers of American children aren’t allowed to work either and many of them have an excellent education and have a lot to offer to American companies in terms of international perspective and experience.
The situation is not easier for female students looking for an H1B sponsor. They have to find a job within three months after graduation or leave the country. This policy also applies to men, but women have fewer chances than them. Many of them have to leave the country after the studies and America loses talent.
Immigrant women are NOT considered in the US Immigration laws and this policy hurts the economy.
The documentary “One Foot In” reveals the gender bias of the U.S immigration laws and gives a voice to professional talented women who deserve an opportunity.
The book "One Foot In' is an extensive version of the documentary.
I decided to write this book to celebrate the courage of women who leave their birthplace. They move to the other side for different reasons but the force that guides them is always the heart.