Study Finds More Than Half Of Undocumented Immigrants Impacted By Hurricane Harvey Didn’t Seek Help Out Of Fear


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A recent study released by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) and the Episcopal Health Foundation (EHF) titled “Hurricane Harvey: The Experiences of Immigrants Living in the Texas Gulf Coast” reveals the particular challenges the immigrant community faced in the wake of the August natural disaster. Of those interviewed, although 64 percent of those surveyed experienced job or income loss and 74 percent reported property damage, nearly half hadn’t sought out help. According to the study, 56 percent of those who are likely to be undocumented immigrants say they are very worried or somewhat worried that if they try to seek help, they will draw attention to their own status or that of a family member.
“We did know going into designing the study that the immigrant community would be interesting because we knew, anecdotally, that undocumented immigrants needed more help,” said Liz Hamel, the lead researcher for the study and Director of Public Opinion and Survey Research at KFF, told Latino USA.
While surveying all demographics, researchers discovered this and other unique challenges experienced by the area’s immigrant community and decided to release a briefer, in-depth look at immigrants’ challenges. Approximately a quarter of those surveyed identified themselves as immigrants, and seven in ten of those immigrants identified as Hispanic. Meanwhile, about one in five immigrants who are legal residents worry about drawing attention to someone else’s status. About 40 percent of Texas’ overall population is Latino or Hispanic, according to the 2010 Census.
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