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Staten Island immigrants suffer in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy

For many, Hurricane Sandy has not been only a matter of dealing with the path of destruction left by the storm. Many area residents are Mexican immigrants who have since been left homeless, jobless and with little or no money in the aftermath of the natural disaster.

These immigrants are here illegally. Though they may desperately be in need of help to find safe housing and food assistance, they likely fear the risk of deportation, also known as removal, if they come forward to ask for help.

As a result, many undocumented immigrants have been left with what may seem like their only option, returning to dangerous living conditions, including moldy homes. This is because many homes were damaged by the sea water in Staten Island. In some cases, floodwaters reached up to the second floors of homes.

Many of these homes have been left without heat, and families must rely on electric heaters. With the winter upon us, this is certainly no way to live. Needless to say, breathing in the damp air can be harmful for anyone, especially anyone who suffers from asthma.

To make matters worse, many businesses where these individuals worked have been shuttered as a result of the storm, leaving them jobless. Thankfully, some individuals have survived by earning cash as day laborers in the reconstruction efforts.

Thankfully, there are those trying to get help to illegal immigrants who were affected by the storm. There are resources available for some of the approximately 20,000 Mexicans living in the area. For instance, it may be possible for these individuals to obtain food stamps and financial assistance from FEMA or from the Mexican government. However, not everyone will qualify.

While the ICE says that they are still focusing their efforts on criminal aliens, anyone in the area who may need help because of concerns of deportation should realize that they are not alone, and that help is available.

Source: Star Tribune, "Mexican immigrants in NY and NJ left homeless, jobless in Superstorm Sandy's aftermath," Claudia Torrens, Nov. 24, 2012

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