POZ Exclusives : Faces in the Crowd: Positive Immigrants Protest Bill - by Lucile Scott

POZ - Health, Life and HIV
Subscribe to:
POZ magazine
E-newsletters
Join POZ: Facebook MySpace Twitter Pinterest
Tumblr Google+ Flickr MySpace
POZ Personals
Sign In / Join
Username:
Password:

Back to home » POZ Exclusives » April 2006

Most Popular Links
Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle

Shingles

Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV

15 Years Ago In POZ


More Web Exclusives

Click here for more news

Have news about HIV? Send press releases, news tips and other announcements to news@poz.com.


emailprint

April 19, 2006

Faces in the Crowd: Positive Immigrants Protest Bill

by Lucile Scott

HIV positive Chileans, Mexicans and Dominicans were among the more than 100,000 people who crossed the Brooklyn Bridge last week to protest the controversial new immigration bill working its way through Congress. “This bill will drive HIV positive undocumented immigrants further underground,” warned Jose Cruz, a staffer at the New York AIDS group Housing Works who made the Monday afternoon march with a banner reading, “The AIDS Crisis Isn’t Over Until We Care for All Immigrants.”

HIV is a top concern for many of the protesters so far clogging 140 U.S. cities to call for a softening of the proposals now on the table in Washington. The version of the bill that passed the House of Representatives in December (and will need to synch up with a version now under discussion in the Senate) would make just being an undocumented immigrant a felony—and prevent agencies from providing food, housing or health care. HIV advocates say positive immigrants would be especially vulnerable.

Also under that version, detention would be mandatory, with immigrants staying behind bars for months or years before seeing a judge, likely without adequate access to health care. “Positive immigrants do not get appropriate medical care,” asserts Sarah Sohn of Immigration Equality, a rights group, “and they face discrimination by [corrections] officers.”

One persistent fear is that HIV positive undocumented immigrants may lose the help they get paying for HIV meds through AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAP). “It’s hard to describe the impact of something so catastrophic,” says Dennis de Leon of the New York-based Latino Commission on AIDS, “except to say that [such a law would] jeopardize the lives of people with HIV.”

Finding HIV care and services is already tricky for undocumented immigrants. Most learn to subsist below government radar for fear of being sent home to countries where there may be no HIV care at all and where some face discrimination for their HIV status or sexuality. And you can’t get Medicare or nonemergency hospitalization without a Green Card.

What’s to come? Cruz believes that lawmakers in Washington will be so moved by this month’s unprecedented turnout of serious, hard-working immigrants that they will pass something kinder than the House version—perhaps closer to the current Senate version, for instance, which drops the felony clause. “In this country, people believe in fairness and justice,” he says. “You can’t argue with a mother who toils and pays taxes.”

Sohn is less optimistic, and de Leon hesitates to make a prediction. What he will commit, however, is that whatever happens in Washington, the services of the Latino Commission won’t change. “We will continue to serve immigrants without regard to legal status,” he says. An ever-widening circle of groups have made the same promise.


[Go to top]

Join POZ Facebook Twitter Google+ MySpace YouTube Tumblr Flickr
Quick Links
Current Issue

HIV 101
HIV Testing
Safer Sex
Find a Date
Newly Diagnosed
Disclosing Your Status
Starting Treatment
Search for the Cure
POZ Stories
POZ TV
Read the Blogs
Visit the Forums
Women
African American
Latino
Providers
Job Listings
Events Calendar


    charliehunter
    San Francisco
    California


    mtaj0818
    Washington
    DC


    ernienyc
    Bronx
    New York


    josebos
    KISSIMMEE
    Florida
Click here to join POZ Personals!
Ask POZ Pharmacist

Talk to Us
Poll
Do you enjoy books with HIV-positive characters?
Yes
No

Survey
Mind Matters

more surveys
Contact Us
We welcome your comments!
[ about Smart + Strong | about POZ | POZ advisory board | partner links | advertising policy | advertise/contact us | site map]
© 2014 Smart + Strong. All Rights Reserved. Terms of use and Your privacy.
Smart + Strong® is a registered trademark of CDM Publishing, LLC.