UndocuCare TGNCI+ Staff Attorney Submits Testimony to NYC Council Committees Regarding Meeting the Needs of Asylum Seekers

April 28, 2023

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

Healthcare Is For You!

Arielle Wisbaum, staff attorney in NYLPI’s UndocuCare TGNCI+ program, submitted testimony to the City of New York Committees on Immigration and Governmental Operations about addressing barriers that asylum seekers face when accessing crucial services, such as gender-affirming healthcare, legal services, and housing. 

Arielle’s testimony reaffirmed NYLPI’s support for the Access to Representation Act (A.170/.999), ensuring that anyone facing deportation across New York State can have a State appointed attorney when they meet certain income requirements. Her testimony also urged the council to ensure that New York City’s Local Department of Social Services/Human Resources Administration (HRA) properly staffs and trains public assistance programs so that immigrant New Yorkers are not wrongfully denied critical access to health insurance and housing: 

“The laws around public benefits and immigration are highly complex and hard to reconcile, understandably making it difficult for immigrant New Yorkers to understand what benefits they are eligible for and how to obtain them. Exacerbating this issue is the fact that HRA employees reviewing benefits applications may engage in the process of “diversion,” whereby a city employee illegally discourages or deters immigrant New Yorkers from applying, even in ways so subtle as to ask for a green card or social security number when such documents are not required. 

 Since January 2023 alone, NYLPI has taken note of several diversion practices by HRA employees and has advocated for immigrant New Yorkers in these circumstances. . . Such staffing issues and diversion tactics are harmful, exacerbate the trauma asylum seekers face, and are contrary to local law.” 

Read or download Arielle’s full testimony here.

Learn more about the NYLPI’s UndocuCare programs here.

Photo: Excerpt of banner for NYLPI and CUP’s resource, Healthcare Is For You

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