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 will promote and enforce immigrants’ rights to access health care in California’s rural Central Valley by providing direct immigration legal services, conducting community education and outreach, and engaging in litigation and policy advocacy.

“Public charge” rules disqualify immigrants relying on vital public benefits (Medicaid, food stamps, and housing assistance) from certain forms of immigration relief have had chilling effects, with immigrant families foregoing health care and social services for fear of being targeted for deportation or becoming ineligible for immigration relief. In California’s Central Valley—home to the state’s farmworker communities—more than 150,000 immigrants and their family members are projected to disenroll from benefits as a result of public charge. Restrictive immigration policies further aggravate already existing barriers to health care for immigrant families, such as complex enrollment processes and language barriers. Immigrant families in the Central Valley lack access to affordable legal services to inform them of their immigration relief options and their rights to public health care and other services.

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 Plans

Clarisa will empower immigrant families to exercise their right to access health care through community education and outreach, direct immigration legal services, and litigation and policy advocacy. Community education and legal services will be the core of Clarisa’s project—she will organize community presentations informing families and health providers of immigrants’ legal rights to access health care, and she will represent families impacted by both immigration and health issues through her partnerships with community health clinics. Clarisa will also screen for violated rights to accessing health care—i.e., discrimination, language access, inaccessible health care sites—to inform litigation and policy reform.

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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