PRESENTE spoke with Attorney Kevin Quisenberry and Outreach Paralegal Rafael Bullones of Community Justice Project, a nonprofit law firm that is part of the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network, to learn more about undocumented immigrant rights during the COVID pandemic. CJP seeks to protect the basic needs and legal rights of low-income individuals and families in Pennsylvania and to assist them in their efforts to become self-sufficient or to otherwise improve their lives and the communities in which they live. Here is what they shared –
- What can undocumented immigrants do if they feel sick or think they may have COVID-19?
These folks should seek medical attention right away. DHS has said that it will authorize Emergency Medical Assistance (EMA) for undocumented persons for testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19. If undocumented immigrants do not have a health provider to call, they can call the PA Department of Health at 1-877-PA-HEALTH. The PA Department of Health has a Spanish option. More info is available here.
- How do I use Emergency Medical Assistance?
Medical providers know how to help patients with Medical Assistance applications, and they should be familiar with Emergency Medical Assistance (EMA). They may not be aware that in the case of COVID-19, filing a Medical Assistance application is the only DHS requirement. The usual EMA verification is not necessary. The provider/applicant should state in the note section of the application that they are applying for EMA for COVID-19 coverage.
- Are there any limitations to who can receive Emergency Medical Assistance?
Yes. Individuals must be income eligible for some categories, but with so many people losing their employment the past few weeks, this may not be an issue. If they have income, the analysis is a little trickier, but we could help with that.
- What can they do if asked to provide an insurance card?
Undocumented immigrants cannot be denied care based on being uninsured. The patient should mention they were advised that they are eligible for Emergency Medical Assistance through DHS and ask for help in filing an application.
- If this does not work, they should call us.Can ICE (or other agencies) question/arrest undocumented immigrants while seeking health care?
Health care facilities are “sensitive locations”, meaning that ICE will not carry out enforcement operations at or near health care facilities (hospitals, doctor’s offices, clinics, and urgent care facilities) except for extraordinary circumstances. Nevertheless, anyone who may be subject to immigration enforcement is encouraged to contact CJP or other local organizations for materials relating to their rights in an enforcement situation.
- Are there any other local organizations helping to coordinate health assistance for undocumented immigrants?
There are a few options:
- Birmingham Free Clinic – 2100 Jane Street; Pittsburgh, PA 15203 | 412-481-7900 ext. 281
- Squirrel Hill Medical Center – 4516 Browns Hill Rd Pittsburgh, PA 15217 | 412-422-7442
- East Liberty Medical Center – 6023 Harvard St. 1st Floor | Pittsburgh, PA 15206 | 412-661-2802
- What other local resources are available to support UIs during the COVID-19 emergency?
Organizations such as Casa San Jose, Latino Family Center, Latino Community Center, Pittsburgh Hispanic Development Corporation and CJP may be able to provide assistance or connect them with other service providers.
- Where is CJP located, how can UIs needing help reach out?
All of our staff are presently working remotely. Our Pittsburgh office is located at 100 Fifth Avenue, Suite 900, Pittsburgh, PA 15222. For the time being, the best way to reach us is by email (email@example.com) or by phone (Rafael Bullones – 412-580-8143).
We thank the Community Justice Project for sharing all this important information with our community. PRESENTE will continue in conversation with CJP to assist in keeping Western PA Latinos stay safe and informed during these uncertain times.
HOLA AMIGOS! Share your comments and ideas with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PHDC Celebrates Latina Entrepreneurs on Women’s Day
The Pittsburgh Hispanic Development Corporation (PHDC) held a breakfast gathering for local Latinas in honor of International Women’s Day. Conducted in Spanish, the event paid tribute and highlighted the work of Latina entrepreneurs building and developing their businesses in Pittsburgh.Nearly 25 women attended representing various countries and industries including snack foods, construction, restaurants, and media.…
Continue Reading PHDC Celebrates Latina Entrepreneurs on Women’s Day
PA Dept of Education’s Proposed Grant Application under Part B of IDEA for FFY 2023
Public comment is invited regarding the PA Department of Education’s (PDE) proposed grant application under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA-B) for FFY 2023.The annual grant application provides, in part, assurances that the State’s policies and procedures in effect are consistent with the federal requirements to ensure that a free appropriate…
Continue Reading PA Dept of Education’s Proposed Grant Application under Part B of IDEA for FFY 2023
Pittsburgh’s Bright Future: A Conversation with Controller Candidate Mark DePasquale
Mark DePasquale knows that hope has guided immigrants in persevering through challenges since they first arrived in Pittsburgh. His four grandparents came here from Italy in the early 1900s to build a better future through hard work and dedication to the community. The family eventually served in public office. DePasquale also wanted to serve. He…
Continue Reading Pittsburgh’s Bright Future: A Conversation with Controller Candidate Mark DePasquale
Medicare Resources for Immigrant Populations
Navigating the healthcare system can feel overwhelming and seemingly impossible, especially for those who are not native English speakers. Medicare Plans Patient Resource Center aims to deliver fact-based, expert-reviewed information about Medicare that can help provide support to our Spanish speaking communities. Their resource guide helps guide senior and disabled immigrants and their families through the…
Continue Reading Medicare Resources for Immigrant Populations
Fern Hollow Bridge Reopens
Governor Tom Wolf and Mayor Ed Gainey announced the newly constructed Fern Hollow Bridge opened to traffic at the end of December. The Fern Hollow Bridge opened to a single-lane of bi-directional traffic. The shared use path on the southern side of the structure is open to bicycles and pedestrians. The bridge, which carries Forbes Avenue over…
5 Reasons why we loved 2022
This year was incredible for us in so many ways. We want to thank YOU, our audience, for following and supporting us on Presente Pittsburgh Latino Magazine’s journey which began with the pandemic in 2020. We hit many milestones this year that validated our efforts and inspire us to continue with our purpose. Our community…