Month: November 2016

We Are Here for Our Immigrant Communities

we-are-here-for-our-immigrant-communities

As with so many other grassroots organizations devoted to human rights and social justice, we at AMPHS are trying to anticipate the consequences of this presidential election. These are uncertain and frightening times—especially for the community members we serve, who are particularly vulnerable to a number of proposed policy changes, both in terms of their healthcare and their immigration status.

In recent years, we’ve seen a great deal of progress on these fronts. Thanks to the tireless efforts of activists across the country and the bravery of those who risked deportation by coming out of the shadows, President Obama unveiled his executive actions on immigration, providing deportation relief and authorization to work for nearly 5 million undocumented immigrants. With the passage of President Obama’s signature Affordable Care Act (ACA), barriers to healthcare were beginning to fall, and many who could not previously afford insurance were finally able to realize what we at AMPHS have always deemed a human right—access to quality care.

These successes were not easily won, and their opponents were quick to dismantle them. In June, the Supreme Court, locked in a 4-4 ruling, effectively deemed President Obama’s immigration action unconstitutional. And earlier this month, we saw the election of not only a president but a Congress (and with them the likely appointment of numerous right-leaning federal judges) poised to repeal the ACA and staunch the rights and security of undocumented immigrants and their families.

With these developments, how can we help but feel defeated? All of this progress just to be thrown swiftly back to zero?

But we have to remind ourselves that the political landscape, as turbulent as it seems, is not all that different now than it was when we began our fight. In fact, in many ways, it was worse. We didn’t begin by defending rights already afforded to the marginalized; we began without rights to defend. We began without visibility, without a network of support. We began without a movement.

From the start, AMPHS’ mission was to empower “individuals and communities to create their own local and culturally-sensitive health and wellness paradigms.” And it still is. We were founded on the principles of advancing healthcare to those in need, regardless of income, insurance, or immigration status. It’s what we’ve always done, and we’re learning how to do it better and better every day.

Yes, we may be disappointed, and we may be scared, but this is not a reset. We are not starting from scratch, because from the beginning, we’ve taken nothing for granted. All these years, and what do we have to show for them? We have a stalwart—and a visible—network of support that persists not because of the ACA, not because of DACA or DAPA, not because of any elected official. We have it because we built it ourselves. So we persist, so we continue to build on what we have, and we already have so much. We have each other.

We at AMPHS are closely monitoring these new developments, and we promise to keep our communities informed of their rights and resources. Please go to this link for a list of key updates on AMPHS’ programs and the president-elect’s policies, and do not hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions or concerns. Call us at (212) 256-9036 or email info@amphsonline.org.

We are here for you.


Hewett Chiu

President & CEO, AMPHS

Advertisements

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS: Healthcare, Immigration, and a Turbulent Political Environment

img_1073

Community members rally in Brooklyn, NY, to protect the rights of immigrants.

There are many uncertainties regarding President-elect Trump’s shifting policies on healthcare and immigration. AMPHS is closely monitoring these new developments and will provide updates as we receive them.

Here’s what we know so far.

  • AMPHS will continue to conduct health screenings in Sunset Park. Please contact us at (212) 256-9036 or email at info@amphsonline.org to make an appointment. All of our health services remain free and open to the public regardless of insurance or immigration status.
  • AMPHS is putting a hold on our DACA Ed outreach until further notice. Individuals already enrolled in Fall DACA Ed courses can continue the program for educational advancement purposes. However, they will be discouraged from applying for DACA until we have more information about the President-elect’s plans.
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) states that information shared via DACA applications is protected from disclosure to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for the purpose of immigration enforcement proceedings, though USCIS reserves the right to issue a Notice To Appear or referral to ICE should criteria be met. USCIS also states that this policy may change. We do not know whether there will be a move by the new administration to use USCIS information to remove groups that were never targeted for deportation in the past. Past groups targeted for deportation were generally individuals who had been convicted of a crime. Moreover, President-elect Trump’s plan to deport millions of immigrants seems unfeasible in light of his joint proposal to enforce federal cutbacks. Despite this, circumstances are unpredictable at this time.
  • For those who are not currently DACAmented (that is, receiving benefits under the DACA program) we are no longer citing DACA as a pathway to health insurance. Individuals currently DACAmented will still be able to apply for health insurance under PRUCOL, but we are uncertain of future implications.
  • We do not suggest submitting DACA applications or renewals at this time. Applications submitted now can take several months to be processed and will likely not protect the applicant should DACA be eliminated.
  • While the ACA will be difficult to dismantle entirely, the President-elect can immediately target subsidies, the individual mandate, and the employer mandate. Instead of the ACA, President-elect Trump has proposed tax deductions for healthcare premiums, authorization to purchase health insurance across state lines, and block grants for state Medicaid programs. According to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, President-elect Trump’s healthcare plans could cost up to $550 billion and result in the loss of coverage for over 20 million people. The President-elect has suggested he would keep some components of the ACA, such as pre-existing condition protections and the option for children to stay on their parents’ insurance plan up to age 26.
img_1079

AMPHS marches with NYC Council Immigration Committee Chair Carlos Menchaca.

 

  • The Obama administration has proposed a new rule that would prevent states from withholding Title X federal family planning money from certain recipients for any reason other than the provider’s “ability to deliver services to program beneficiaries in an effective manner.” Under this rule, states will no longer be able to defund Planned Parenthood. The rule will go into effect after a 30-day public comment period.
  • According to Donald Trump’s website, his administration plans to remove thousands of so-called “criminal aliens” in “joint operations with local, state, and federal law enforcement.” However, many local law enforcement agencies have already claimed that they will not aid President-elect Trump’s deportation efforts, including Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck. Police departments across the country have shared similar sentiments, as have the mayors of New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Minneapolis, Newark, Denver, Seattle, Philadelphia, and Providence, Rhode Island.
  • Donald Trump’s website also states that his administration will “end sanctuary cities,” terminate DACA, and triple the number of ICE agents. And in a recent “60 Minutes” interview, Trump vowed to deport up to 3 million immigrants. Many have argued that these plans are unrealistic and prohibitively expensive, and as already mentioned, many cities have publicly promised to defend against such policies. However, an expansion of ICE and/or more frequent raids is certainly possible. Click here to learn more about how to protect yourself if the police or ICE come to your house.

No matter the political situation, AMPHS remains devoted to advancing quality healthcare to those in need, regardless of income, insurance, or immigration status. We stand in solidarity with our immigrant communities and will work as always to defend the human rights of the most vulnerable.

If you have any questions or concerns, please call us at (212) 256-9036 or email at info@amphsonline.org. We are here for you.