Undocumented Immigrants Forgotten in Sandy Aftermath

Although President Barack Obama promised to give federal help to victims of Hurricane Sandy in the Staten Island area, many undocumented immigrants said they were turned away for assistance by federal disaster relief workers.
The Mexican consulate in Manhattan said about 380 of its citizens in New York and New Jersey suffered losses to Sandy. According to a FEMA spokesperson, undocumented immigrants do not need a Social Security number to apply for aid. The agency also said it would not report applicants for aid to immigration officials, according to a recent article on Fox News Latino.
Undocumented immigrant families are eligible for short-term non-cash disaster aid like food, shelter, and clothing, but can’t get cash assistance that includes “Individuals and Households Program Assistance.” Families could be eligible for full FEMA assistance if they have a child born in the U.S., according to the article.
Most immigrants interviewed by Fox News Latino didn’t know they were eligible for FEMA help, despite not having a Social Security number, according to the artcile. FEMA signs in both English and Spanish all over Staten Island tell residents to bring their Social Security numbers to receive help.
Most Latinos in Staten Island are Puerto Rican, but a majority of the immigrants are from Mexico. According to the 2010 Census, more than 81,000 Latinos live on Staten Island, an increase of 51.4 percent since 2000. The legal and undocumented Mexican population on Staten Island has more than doubled since 2000.
Photo © May Young via Flickr

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