Superstorm Sandy forcing undocumented immigrants to make tough choices

Flikr | photocredit: Aur2899

There is little room for argument that it is our government’s duty to take care of its citizens first and foremost. However, the real question I feel is what is our duty as a community to others in our same community regardless of their citizenship status? The government and the whole nation has come together to help those facing the aftermath of Sandy, but what about those in need that cannot ask for help because they aren’t really supposed to be here? Should we help them?

New York, a city known for its immigrant populations, has also drawn undocumented immigrants to the area. However, New York City was also the hardest hit area of Superstorm Sandy’s devastation, and now the undocumented must make choices between receiving the help the need and risk facing deportation, or staying in the shadows, and risking illness or death.

People have started reaching out to immigrant families, giving them information and resources to help them receive food, medical attention, and supplies without the threat of deportation. However, so far only a small percentage of immigrants in New York have been contacted, about 735 people total, and an even smaller percentage of them have received adequate help due to insufficient funds.

Why should these people go without basic necessities and face the ultimatum of life in America or illness and even death. These immigrants may be undocumented and they may not legally be able to receive certain rights, but these basic rights should still be afforded.

Since the government can’t technically offer them support, it is up to fellow community members to support these disaster victims. We should be able to ban together, and ignore their undocumented statuses for the time being and just focus on making sure that all of the victims of Sandy and being helped back on their feet. After a disaster like superstorm sandy, who really cares who’s one documentation status is in this country? It’s at these moments when we’re reminded that we are all human.

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