The AIDS Legal Services Project Stands by HIV+ Immigrants Every Step of the Way - Thanks to the Dedication of our Pro Bono Immigration Panel
"There are many immigrants in Los Angeles who are living with HIV and AIDS. Some are new arrivals, often fleeing persecution in their home countries. Others have lived here for a long time and contracted HIV in the U.S. To assist HIV+ immigrants gain legal status, the ALSP and LA HLPP coordinate regular clinics in the Pico Union area staffed by experienced pro bono attorneys. We want to thank them for the invaluable assistance they are providing:
In addition to legal clinics, the ALSP also coordinates full-scope pro bono legal representation.
Here are just a few of our recent success stories.
Brian Schield, Principal, Jackson Lewis PC, currently has no less than six open pro bono immigration matters referred from the ALSP. His most recent success story was gaining legal permanent residency for IE. When IE was 32 years old, she left her native Guatemala AND her young daughter, to respond to a summons from her husband who had come to the U.S. seeking medical treatment. It turned out he was HIV+ and transmitted the virus to his wife. When she arrived in the U.S. to help take care of him, he was living with a new boyfriend and his sister. All three became physically abusive to IE. But with no money and nowhere to go, IE stayed until SHE was arrested on false charges from her sister-in-law and wound up in removal proceedings.
It took 13 years, but Ally Bolour, sole practitioner, made sure LN became a proud U.S. citizen last year. In 1989, LN fled El Salvador with his mother and sisters. While the rest of his family became U.S. citizens, LN’s petition stalled and was later denied, when he tested HIV+. Still hoping to legalize his status, 13 years ago, the AIDS Legal Services Project referred LN to volunteer attorney Ally Bolour.
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Recent quotes from pro bono clients:
The AIDS Legal Services Project (ALSP) has directed its resources to assisting low-income people living with HIV disease almost from the very beginning of the HIV epidemic. Since it was founded in 1986 by the LACBA Barristers, the Project has provided direct one-on-one pro bono legal representation to thousands of people living with HIV and AIDS who have an HIV-related legal problem.
With the help of highly motivated pro bono attorneys who have been with the project since its inception, ALSP has established a reputation for handling some of the most sophisticated legal issues including asylum based on HIV status, employment discrimination, COBRA and ERISA and housing foreclosures.
The ALSP focuses on core HIV-related legal services:
- Estate planning (wills, powers of attorney and healthcare directives);
- Debt relief (including creditor harassment and student loan defaults but generally NOT response to summons if the person is being sued in court);
- Insurance (health, life and disability terminations and overpayments)
- Employment (HIV discrimination, FMLA leave, ADA accommodations)
- HIV Discrimination in healthcare and public access; and
- Breaches of HIV confidentiality.
- Immigration—all forms of relief
If you have questions, please call Laurie Aronoff, ALSP Project Director at (213) 833-6776.
For people in need of assistance, please call our new collaborative partner, the Los Angeles HIV Law & Policy Project (LA HLPP) at (310) 794-7367 where bilingual, trained advocates will provide a confidential intake. Matters that are appropriate for the ALSP will be referred to the Project Director for follow up assistance.
Los Angeles HIV Law and Policy Project (LA HLPP) Receives State Bar President’s Distinguished Pro Bono Service Award
LACBA AIDS Legal Services Project is one of four law-related organizations that constitute LA HLPP.
Congratulations to the Los Angeles HIV Law and Policy Project (LA HLPP) being named recipient of the State Bar President’s Distinguished Pro Bono Service Award.
As the State Bar website explains: LA HLPP, launched in 2013, is a unique collaboration between LACBA AIDS Legal Services Project (ALSP), Disability Rights Legal Center, Inner City Law Center, and UCLA School of Law.
Shown from left: Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye; LACBA ALSP Project Director Laurie Aronoff; and outgoing State Bar President Craig Holden.
“The collaborative provides access to legal services to people living with HIV and/or AIDS in Los Angeles County. Each entity provides substantial resources and leverages resources of other legal services agencies, pro bono attorneys, and law student volunteers.
“Through operating a centralized intake line, LA HLPP directs eligible clients to meaningful access to legal services to address unmet legal needs in areas of healthcare, housing, immigration and employment. The network of providers includes AIDS Project Los Angeles, Los Angeles LGBT Center, Public Counsel, ACLU of Southern California, Lambda Legal Defense & Education Fund, and Bet Tzedek Legal Services, as well as more than twelve major law firms, and numerous solo and small law firm attorneys. In 2014, 85 pro bono attorneys contributed more than 2,600 hours and joined staff attorneys to assist more than 500 clients. Pro bono services included counsel and advice, brief service, and full scope representation in administrative hearings, immigration court, bankruptcy matters, and state, federal and appellate court actions.”
The award was presented on October 9 at an evening Awards Reception in conjunction with the State Bar’s Annual Meeting held this year in Anaheim.
AIDS LEGAL SERVICES PROJECT
Project Director, Laurie Aronoff (213) 833-6776
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