Department of Health and Human Service Now Must Act to Repeal Regulations

(Washington, D.C., August 4, 2008)—Today, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) released a statement applauding Congress and President Bush’s repeal of a statutory ban on immigration to the United States by people with HIV, and called upon the Department of Health and Human Services (HSS) to follow suit and implement these changes to their current regulations.

“The entry ban on HIV positive visitors and immigrants to this country has wreaked havoc and trauma on countless lives since it was first implemented by the Department of Health and Human Service over 20 years ago,” said Kate Kendell, NCLR Executive Director. “While the reauthorization of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) was a major step in assuring a final and full repeal of the ban, we must step up efforts to ensure that HSS changes its regulations and ends this discrimination.”

U.S. immigration laws unfairly discriminate against LGBTQ people and people with HIV and/or AIDS. As immigrants, their lives here often are precarious and endangered. In 1994, NCLR established a national project dedicated to immigration issues. Since then, NCLR has provided free legal assistance to thousands of LGBTQ immigrants nationwide.

“Everyday in our work on behalf of LGBTQ immigrants we see the devastating effects of the HIV ban, family members are forced to leave each other behind or forgo opportunities to secure a future safe from violence and harassment because of this misguided policy,” noted Noemi Calonje, NCLR’s Immigration Project Director. “There is no public interest served by this ban, but countless LGBTQ immigrants and their loved ones are hurt.”

For more information about the statutory ban and Congress’ repeal, read Immigration Equality’s press release here.

click here to read more about NCLR’s Immigration Project

The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.