Clarisa Reyes-Becerra

  • Hosted by California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation
  • Sponsored by Amgen Inc., Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP
  • Service location Sacramento, California
  • Law school Columbia Law School
  • Issue area Health Care
  • Fellowship class year 2020
  • Program Design-Your-Own Fellowship

The Project

Clarisa’s Fellowship promoted and enforced immigrants’ rights to access health care and public benefits in California’s rural Central Valley through direct immigration legal services, community education and outreach, and policy advocacy.

Immigrant families are often excluded from our health care and public benefits systems, oftentimes due to their immigration status, and other times because of complex eligibility and income restrictions, language access barriers, and fear of immigration consequences for seeking public assistance. Moreover, immigrant families in California’s Central Valley lack access to affordable legal services to inform them of their immigration relief options and rights to access health care, regardless of immigration status. These access barriers have been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and exclusionary immigration policies, such as the constantly changing “public charge” rules, which have caused eligible immigrant families and their US citizen children to dis-enroll or avoid public benefits for fear of being disqualified from obtaining lawful status.

From her own family’s experiences with the health care system, Clarisa understands that underserved minority patients can suffer poorer health outcomes, and even death, because of discriminatory practices. Her family’s perseverance motivates her to improve health outcomes and access to health care for immigrant families through legal intervention.

Fellowship Highlights

During the two-year Fellowship, Clarisa:

  • Reached over 2,500 individuals through more than 60 community presentations on immigrant rights to health care
  • Established a “public charge” hotline where immigrant families in the Central Valley of California could call to ask about health care access and public benefits concerns related to their immigration status
  • Provided more than 30 trainings to health, education, and social services providers (i.e., doctors, social workers, promtoras, community-based organizations, school administrators and educators)
  • Represented more than 60 individuals in applying for immigration relief, including naturalization, family petitions, and humanitarian forms of immigration relief for survivors of serious crimes
  • Provided individual legal consultations and limited legal services to more than 250 individuals

Next Steps

After her Fellowship, Clarisa will stay at California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation to serve as the Director of CRLAF’s Immigrant Health Equity Project. She will continue to provide immigration legal assistance and engage in community education and policy advocacy with a focus on promoting access to health care and public benefits for immigrant communities.

Media

Clarisa Reyes-Becerra ’19 Awarded Equal Justice Works Fellowship

As the granddaughter of immigrant farmworkers, I endeavor to expose and fight the exclusionary policies discriminately affecting the health of immigrant farmworkers in the Central Valley, and make their stories heard, known, and accounted for.

Clarisa Reyes-Becerra /
2020 Equal Justice Works Fellow

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