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AIDS Action Applauds Removal Of Discriminatory HIV Provision From Immigration Reform Bill

Provision denied HIV treatment
to legal immigrants, undocumented people

September 30, 1996

Statement by Fred Miller
Interim Executive Director

For information, contact:
Kevin A. Mercuri, (202) 986-1300, Ext. 3065

AIDS Action applauds the removal this past weekend of an egregious provision in the Immigration Reform bill [H.R. 2202] which would have denied HIV-infected legal immigrants and undocumented individuals access to publicly funded HIV treatment. We are happy to see a close to yet another sad chapter of legislative history in the 104th Congress; a chapter in which ignorance and xenophobia almost triumphed over sound public health practice, prudence and compassion. AIDS Action's efforts and those of our national grassroots network of local AIDS advocates and service providers, of Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) who shed light on the provision, and of the Clinton administration which took a firm stand, have delivered a victory for the AIDS community and, more importantly, for the public health.

Yet again, conservative forces in Congress sought to ostracize one disease- HIV and AIDS - and one group of people -legal immigrants and undocumented individuals - in an ill-informed attempt at legislating immigration reform. We prevailed on this issue because the American public knows full well that any advances we have made in the fight against AIDS can be easily defeated by the ignorant stroke of a pen on a despicable piece of legislation. Despite our relief at the removal of this provision, AIDS Action is saddened to end the legislative season by fighting over who is entitled to publicly funded treatment for HIV and AIDS. By proposing the denial of life-saving treatment to any group of people, Congress has committed a moral outrage which served only to forestall an end to the epidemic by wasting resources on legislation intended to hurt rather than help. AIDS Action calls upon those in Congress who believe AIDS can simply be legislated away to learn the facts before the opening of the 105th Congress.

For more information, contact:
AIDS Action Council
1875 Connecticut Avenue NW #700
Washington DC 20009
202-986-1300, extension 3053
202-986-1345 (fax)
202-332-9614 (tty)

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This article was provided by AIDS Action Council.