Natural Disasters Frequently Impact Immigrants More Severely

When natural disasters strike, everyone is impacted and relies on the some sort of aid. With the recent Colorado floodings, people are left homeless and at the mercy of rescue workers. However, the burden increases for those undocumented immigrants who happened to have been caught in this natural disaster and are ineligible for aid.

Undocumented immigrants on their own in natural disasters

When a natural disaster occurs, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) aids by helping people recover their losses through filing necessary paperwork. The primary breadwinner in the family applies for the federal aid, which creates a problem for undocumented immigrants. These individuals are not eligible for federal aid for cleanup and rebuilding efforts.

Twenty-two year old Jose Rodriguez and his family were caught in the hundred- mile expanse of Colorado’s Front Range which completely flooded two weeks ago. Thousands of families are experiencing the post cleanup from the water, but the Rodriguez family knows they have no aid from anyone else. “I guess throughout the flood, we weren’t really sure if we had anything to go back to, and now the only place that we’re trying to get help, they’re saying, ‘you know what? We can’t do anything about it, so you’re on your own.’ It’s somewhat of a bad feeling just to hear basically,” he said.

Organizations getting immigrants general assistance

The challenges for undocumented immigrants are apparent in not only these types of disasters but for any sort of federal aid. Undocumented immigrants do not qualify for federal aid which makes it difficult for them to recover. FEMA prohibits undocumented immigrants from receiving any sort of cash assistance, but officials are urging immigrants to still register with the agency to receive other benefits such as transportation, emergency medical care, food water and emergency supplies.

While aid is difficult to come by for undocumented immigrants, certain organizations are noticing the lack of response for immigrants and other organizations have already set up seminars to pull together proper paperwork to provide necessary documents to get them at least general assistance.

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