EJW Fellow Arielle Wisbaum Helps Launch NYLPI’s New “UndocuCare TGNCI+” Project in NYLPI’s Health Justice Program

October 29, 2020

Health Justice, Immigrant Justice, News, UndocuCare, UndocuCare TGNCI+

NYLPI’s newly launched UndocuCare TGNCI+ project aims to break down two major barriers to accessing health care: lack of immigration status, and risk of detention. Following NYLPI’s holistic approach to accessing health care through immigration advocacy, UndocuCare TGNCI+ provides direct legal services to transgender, gender-nonconforming, intersex (TGNCI) and undocumented individuals living with HIV by filing for viable relief, including asylum, U- and T-visas, and family-based applications.

Undocumented TGNCI individuals, doubly marginalized due to citizenship status and gender identity, face particular vulnerabilities. One in four transgender people report experiencing discrimination in health care and one in three report verbal harassment or refusal of treatment. As a result, many TGNCI people avoid seeking health care altogether. Persons living with HIV also face unique barriers to having their needs met. Disparities in care are multiply compounded when a person is undocumented and, as a result, uninsured.

Additionally, TGNCI undocumented individuals are at a heightened risk of being criminalized and detained due to police profiling, targeting, and harassment using New York’s law on loitering for the purposes of prostitution, or the “Walking While Trans Ban”. Such criminalization often leads to the placement of TGNCI individuals into Human Trafficking Intervention Courts, which can negatively impact eligibility for immigration relief.

Through UndocuCare TGNCI+, NYLPI commits to confronting such injustice and barriers to health care access.

UndocuCare TGNCI+ Project Services and Purpose:

  1. Provide immigration representation for transgender, gender- nonconforming and intersex New Yorkers and/or persons living with HIV.
  2. Work with community partners, such as the Queer Detainee Empowerment Project (QDEP), to provide detention release advocacy and fulfill defensive immigration legal needs.
  3. Connect individuals to life-affirming and life-saving health care, including gender-affirming procedures, and provide referrals for comprehensive services, including assistance with legal name change petitions.
  4. Work in coalition to repeal the “Walking While Trans Ban” and participate in policy advocacy to stop the criminalization of TGNCI individuals.

Read more about Equal Justice Works and Arielle’s project here. Arielle’s fellowship is co-sponsored by Sullivan & Cromwell LLP and AIG, Inc.

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