Undocumented immigrants suffering due to lack of Hurricane Sandy aid

By ANTOINETTE KELLY, Source: IrishCentral.com


Horrific destruction and flooding caused by Hurricane Sandy in New York and surrounding areas. Photo by AP

As FEMA attempts to help the tens of thousands of east coast residents affected by Hurricane Sandy, undocumented immigrants cannot apply for funding.

FEMA reports 236,000 New Yorkers have requested relief in the wake of the storm, however cash assistance for home repairs are only available to US citizens.

There are over 11 million immigrants who live in the US without documentation.

According to FEMA officials, some funds have been allocated to undocumented immigrants, but only those who have US born children or relatives are eligible.

Jackie Vimo, the director of advocacy for the New York Immigration Coalition has requested that Mayor Bloomberg’s office to set aside some of the Sandy fund the city has raised for undocumented immigrants

“Many are without housing currently and are double, triple living in crowded conditions with relatives and really stretching family resources,” Vimo said.

“In terms of long-term recovery, the fact that there is no specific plan is extremely challenging, and it’s something we are working on.”

In Rockaways, one of the worst affected areas hit by the superstorm, community organizer Dahlia Goldenberg of Queens Congregations United for Action said many undocumented immigrants have been out of work since the storm struck.

“There are families where two out of three adults in the household have been out of work since the storm, and they don’t have the money to fix the boiler and can’t get help from FEMA for that,” Goldenberg said. “They have no plans for what to do when it gets colder,” Goldenberg told Metro US.

She added, “They’re big contributors to our city, so they should be getting help just like everybody else.”

Queens Councilman Daniel Dromm, head of the City Council Committee on Immigration, says FEMA has not informed undocumented immigrants, what is available to them.

“On signs that FEMA posted, it says you need a social security number right off the bat,” Dromm said.

“There are some things [undocumented workers] are eligible for, but those signs are very, very misleading.”

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