House Passes Immigration Bill; Call Your Senators!
September 25, 1996
Immigration Reform Bill Passes House 305-123; Discriminatory Hiv/Aids Provisions Still Included; Calls Needed To Your Senators To Oppose The Conference Report On H.R. 2202!
The House of Representatives voted today 305 to 123 in favor of the conference report on H.R. 2202 -- the Immigration Reform bill. The conference report contains provisions that would eliminate all publicly funded HIV treatment services for legal immigrants and undocumented individuals. These provisions were not included in the original House and Senate immigration measures passed earlier this year. They were added during conference negotiations, and conferees were denied an opportunity to offer an amendment to strike these provisions.
No other disease is singled out for denial of life saving treatment - except HIV and AIDS.
The recently signed welfare reform bill already dramatically restricts the health care access available for all immigrants and undocumented persons. The conference report on the Immigration Reform Bill goes even further by explicitly denying medical care for legal immigrants and undocumented persons who test positive for HIV. If they test positive for any other communicable disease they will have access to treatment for those diseases; if they test positive for HIV, on the other hand, they will be barred from accessing necessary medical care for HIV/AIDS.
There is no logical public health or public policy argument for distinguishing HIV and AIDS from all other communicable diseases. It makes no sense to allow testing and treatment for tuberculosis or influenza while refusing it for HIV and AIDS.
The only explanation for these provisions is mean-spiritedness and blatant discrimination. These provisions will effectively undermine the nation's ability to control the spread of the AIDS epidemic and to respond to the needs of HIV-infected individuals for life-saving medical and care services.
The Senate will consider the conference report on H.R. 2202 later this week. Your calls are needed to your Senators immediately! This is the final chance to have them speak out against HIV discrimination!
Please make your call to your Senators and to the President as soon as possible! Time is running out!
[Paid for with contributions from AIDS Action Network Members. Your generous contribution is appreciated.]
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This article was provided by AIDS Action Council.