Illegal Immigrants Afraid to Ask for Aid - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

04.13.07

Illegal Immigrants Afraid to Ask for Aid

Fear is keeping some illegal immigrants in Clovis from seeking aid after last month's tornado. NewsChannel 10's Marissa Bagg joins us live in the studio with the story of one woman, who is finally reaching out for help.

The Red Cross tells us the tornado devastated dozens of undocumented families, who won't ask for aid, because they don't want to be deported. But we found out, they can get assistance, without worrying about being sent home.

"I was afraid to get help. I finally went to FEMA yesterday. I didn't want to go because they ask for a lot of information," says 'Clara', a Clovis woman living there illegally.

This woman, we'll call 'Clara', says it took a lot of courage to come forward and ask for help. he, her husband, and her sons are undocumented.

"I think they're embarassed of needing assistance because they came to this country to work hard and provide for themselves, they're facing hardship and they feel they can handle it on their own," says Adan Estrada, Principal of Lockwood Elementary, who is trying to help all tornado survivors get aid.

Because 'Clara's' mother has a social security number, she may still receive aid from FEMA.

"They told me they would probably help us," she says.

Their policy is: a family in need may qualify if at least one member is legal.

"FEMA isn't in the business of reporting people who is here illegally, we're here to help them," says Kim Pease, a FEMA Agent.

For those who don't have family ties to citizenship there's the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and local churches. There is plenty of aid out there for everyone, and Estrada says if you are here illegally you shouldn't be afraid toask for it.

"I do think it's a problem our undocumented families have decided to not seek assistance. I encourage them we're all human and all want to help each other out, humanity is more important than borders," says Estrada.

"We came for the american dream and we have to work hard and get ahead by ourselves, it's good if they help us," says 'Clara'.

You can still ask for aid by calling FEMA at 1-800-621-3362. Or stop by one of two disaster recovery centers in Clovis and Logan.

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