The legal, cultural, and socio-economic barriers created by immigration policies create substantial obstacles for people living with HIV and their advocates. In the United States, the isolation and lack of health care available to immigrant populations impedes treatment and prevention efforts, and immigrants living with HIV who are detained by the government face difficulty in accessing treatment while in custody. HIV-related restrictions for those visiting or immigrating to a country exacerbate these problems by separating families and dependants, limiting employment and educational opportunities for people living with HIV, and discouraging individuals from seeking testing or treatment for fear of being denied entry. The United States recently removed statutory and regulatory bans prohibiting people with HIV from entering the country, and effective January 4, 2010. However, several questions remain for people living with HIV seeking permanent residency.
The Resource Bank provides resources to assist advocates and people living with HIV in overcoming these obstacles, and includes information on issues such as the HIV ban and individuals' rights after it has been repealed, the rights of detained immigrants living with HIV, and the obstacles immigrant communities face in treatment and prevention efforts.
Know Your Rights: The HIV Ban and Immigration, The Center for HIV Law and Policy
This brief front-and-back handout provides answers to frequently asked questions about HIV, immigration, and the HIV Ban. The HIV ban is no longer in effect as of January 4, 2010, and the handout helps individuals determine how the lifting of the ban will affect them. Specifically, it discusses what this means for current applicants, prospective applicants, and those seeking to visit the United States, and provides advice about next steps. It also provides contact information for further information. Click here to download.
Vitug v. Mukasey, Amicus Brief
In a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals case that could have far-reaching impact on the medical care of HIV-positive detainees in U.S. detention centers, HIV and Legal Services Alliance(HALSA) submitted this amicus brief on behalf of Dennis Vitug, a Filipino immigrant. Vitug, who is HIV-positive, sought a withholding of removal, which was denied by the U.S. Board of Immigration Appeals. In the meantime, Vitug was being held in a detention facility where he received suboptimal care for his HIV disease. The brief "highlight[s] the threat of discrimination and persecution against persons with HIV in detention facilities, specifically relating to the denial of access to HIV medical care and life-saving prescription drugs, as well as the discrimination and lack of medical access that exists for all HIV positive persons in the Philippines."
Click here to download.
Chronic Indifference: HIV/AIDS Services for Immigrants Detained by the United States, Human Rights Watch
This report describes the failure of the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to provide basic health care services to HIV-positive immigrants living in detention facilities. Due to the passage of new laws that expand mandatory detention and deportation of immigrants—including legal permanent residents—the number of immigrants detained by the United States and the duration of detention has expanded significantly over the past few years. This report describes the failure of the DHS to collect basic information to monitor the health of immigrant detainees with HIV, and the implementation of substandard policies and procedures to ensure appropriate care and services. As the report details, many detainees are deprived of their medication and denied access to medical services until the neglect results in health problems that require serious intervention and even prolonged hospitalization. Moreover, the medical treatment that is provided compromises the confidentiality and safety of HIV-positive detainees. The report outlines recommendations for the DHS, ICE, the Division of Immigration Health Services, and the United States Congress to address these serious concerns.
Click here to download.
THE FINE PRINT
Elimination of the Statutory HIV Ban is a Huge Step in a Longer Journey
by Victoria Neilson
Under the current policies of the Department of Health and Human Services, foreign nationals with HIV will continue to be excluded from the United States. More
Education, outreach, advocacy, and the maintenance of a nationwide network of resources to reduce the negative impact of that law on the lives of LGBT and HIV-positive people, and to help obtain asylum for those persecuted in their home country based on their sexual orientation, transgender identity, or HIV-status.
Gay Men's Health Crisis, Immigration and Legal Services
Assistance for HIV-positive immigrants on issues such as legalization/naturalization, HIV waivers, asylum, and public benefits.
National Immigration Project
A national membership organization of lawyers, law students, legal workers, and jailhouse lawyers working to defend and expand the rights of all immigrants in the United States.
HIV Law Project
The HIV Law Project provides free civil legal services to HIV-positive residents of Manhattan and the Bronx. They provide a wide variety of immigration legal services, including removal defense, asylum, VAWA, adjustment of status, U visas, and naturalization.