NYIAL’s Legal Clinics Surpass Expectations

  • April 19, 2011
  • News

image As demand for social services in New York is increasing and safety nets are eroding, AID FOR AIDS International is stepping up to fill that gap. Through its New York Immigrant AIDS Link (NYIAL) program, AFAI is offering free legal services to immigrants living with HIV or AIDS (PLWHA) in the New York metropolitan area.
The legal clinics, held at AFAI’s Manhattan headquarters on the first Tuesday of each month from 3 to 5 p.m., are staffed by two attorneys from the Legal Aid Society. The attorneys conduct individual consultations with clients, offering advice on a range of legal issues relevant to the immigrant community .The specific topics covered in these sessions generally include requests for legal asylum, eviction, domestic violence, travel document requirements, and permanent residence/green card petitions. The attorneys also provide advice on applications, legal letters, and other documents.
NYIAL workers say the demand for legal help among the immigrant population is growing much faster than the available space.  Dario Jimenez, a case manager at AFAI, notes that “Right now we have no available openings until July, and this is a mixed blessing. On the one hand, it shows that NYIAL has been very successful with the legal clinics. On the other hand, we wish more funding would come along soon so we could expand this service.”
Jonathan Capote, another NYIAL case manager, continues, “The clinics and many of the other services we provide in New York are performing a much-needed service in the community. However, as the financial crisis forced so many organizations to close and social services to be eliminated, we’re experiencing an overload of clients.”
The New York Immigrant AIDS Link (NYIAL) was created in 2001 to provide social services to recent immigrants to the U.S. who are living with HIV or AIDS. NYIAL aims to supports them as they adjust to a new environment, language, culture, and healthcare service structure.