Financial Help For Immigrants and Refugees. Undocumented immigrants can have a hard time finding financial aid. Finding government programs that cater to them during a crisis can be challenging. Undocumented immigrants mostly stay in the country after a visa expires or enter the country via unlawful means. Understand being an undocumented immigrant isn’t a criminal offense. It is a civil offense.
The United States attracts many immigrants looking for a better life for their families. They are needed for cheap labor in restaurants, hotels, and households. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, many undocumented documents have struggled with keeping a roof over their heads or getting medical assistance.
This article explores sources to help undocumented immigrants find financial help for bills, rent, food, and medical assistance. Organizations provide services and engage immigrant workers with local charities and community programs.
Help for Undocumented Immigrants in the Biden Administration
With the new Biden administration, many positive changes helped document undocumented immigrants. The U.S. Citizen Act of 2021 gives immigrants a pathway to citizenship. It also offers legal status to the dreamers, farmworkers, and the undocumented. These individuals will be eligible for work permits and no longer have to fear deportation under this president. After a few years, one can obtain permanent residence and become a naturalized citizen. (More)
Organizations and programs That Help Legal and Undocumented Immigrants
1. The American Civil Liberties Union
The American Civil Liberties Union, or ACLU, is dedicated to defending individuals’ rights and liberties in courts, legislatures, and communities. They have a specific project dedicated to protecting the rights of all immigrants. The organization believes that the Constitution protects every person’s right to due process and equal protection, regardless of immigration status.
They partner with other organizations such as United We Dream, Mijente, and Immigrant Justice Corps to provide immigrants with legal services. Additionally, the ACLU is at the forefront of several movements/legal battles. These legal challenges focus on challenging any laws that prevent immigrants from accessing the court’s laws.
They also counter unjust laws that impose mandatory and/or indefinite detention and other anti-immigration laws, such as “show your papers” laws.
- Website: American Civil Liberties Union
- Phone Number: +1 ( 212 ) 549 – 2500
2. The Florence Project
The Florence Project is another organization that works to provide both legal and social services to immigrants detained in Arizona. They work with both adults and unaccompanied children. The government does not provide attorneys or public defenders for people going through removal proceedings.
Therefore, many immigrants (around 86%) go without because they cannot afford to hire their own. While the Florence Project is based in Arizona, they also work to partner with other communities to provide services nationally.
The Florence Project offers both educational and legal services so that immigrants. They receive both representations in court and know their rights for themselves. They also have an entire department working for unaccompanied and detained children.
These children receive direct or pro bono representation. Additionally, they work to help them understand what to expect in court. The Florence Project specializes in children’s asylum, special immigrant juvenile visas, and U and T visas. These documents protect people who have survived crimes or trafficking. Beyond those two programs, they have integrated social services, advocacy and outreach, and mental health programs.
- Website: The Florence Project
- Phone Number: +1 ( 602 ) 307 – 1008
3. Save the Children
Save the Children is an organization that works in the US and worldwide to help children in crisis. This includes children who have been detained due to immigration problems. They are now explicitly working to provide families with hygiene kits and information to stay healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Beyond children’s hygiene, Save the Children has programs designed to help kids in America succeed in school and life. This is done through early education, literacy, health, and disaster preparedness programs. Also, they have international programs (in over 100 countries) that include health, education, and protection programs. Finally, Save the Children is working to change policies hurting children seeking to come to the United States.
- Website: Save the Children
- Phone Number: +1 ( 800 ) 728 -3843
4. Texas Civil Rights Project
Texas Civil Rights Project is an organization that focuses on three main areas: Criminal injustice reform, racial and economic justice, and voting rights. There are a few different programs that they have specifically designed to help immigrants. First, they recruit help from various law firms to provide full legal representation to detained and separated immigrant families. They work to provide those who need it with bilingual attorneys, but they also recruit translators when necessary.
The Texas Civil Rights Project also interviews families to get proper documentation about what is happening. With that documentation, they work to ensure that families are reunited quickly. They also have programs to help people determine whether they are eligible to vote and, if so, how to do so.
- Website: Texas Civil Rights Project
- Phone Number: +1 ( 512 ) 474 – 5073
5. Legal Aid Assistance Helps Immigrants
Legal aid is a charitable organization that helps minorities to get their human rights. The company is not a charity organization that provides financial help. But, they have a national network and connections to various charities. You can talk to a Legal Aid worker if you face eviction or unemployment while waiting for your green card approval or naturalization process to begin.
Legal Aid workers are known for helping undocumented and legal immigrants win cases or find shelters nationwide. They are an excellent option for legal matters when you don’t have the money to pay for a good lawyer. You can try your local charter to get advice about your situation. They can show you how to move forward and the possibility of financial aid for charitable organizations in your community.
- Website: Legal Aid
- Phone: 202.452.0620
6. Planned Parenthood
Unfortunately, it is almost impossible for undocumented immigrants to get health insurance. This makes many traditional forms of healthcare unattainable for undocumented immigrants. However, different low-cost or free clinics will provide services to undocumented immigrants. These clinics offer services and do not report immigration status. Various options depend on your state, but Planned Parenthood is one clinic in most states. Planned Parenthood will provide healthcare to undocumented immigrants.
Planned Parenthood provides a wide range of health care services at no cost or low cost. They provided STD testing and treatment, birth control, and prevention screening. Additionally, they offer hormone therapy and basic health care. These services are provided to people of all genders, but some treatments require parental or guardian consent.
- Website: Planned Parenthood
- Phone Number: +1 ( 800 ) 230 – 7526
7. American Friends Service Committee
The American Friends Service Committee is a group that operates in the United States. It also works in various other countries to help combat several essential issues. One of which is defending immigrant rights. They believe that all people deserve safety and to be treated with dignity.
To secure these rights for more people, the American Friends Service Committee works in various fields to help immigrants in the United States. Their program includes legal services, human-rights monitoring, training, humanitarian relief, and immigrant-led organizing. They also advocate for more humane immigration laws in the countries where they work.
- Website: American Friends Service Committee
- Phone Number: +1 ( 215 ) 241 – 7000
8. Survivors of Torture International
Survivors of Torture International is a group that works around the world to help individuals and families who have been affected by torture. While their program is not limited to immigrants, it is available to many seeking asylum. Regarding specific services, Survivors of Torture International will be provided with physical and psychological evaluations and documentation to be presented to an immigration court.
They also provided various psychotherapy options, including individual therapy, family therapy, crisis counseling, and support groups. As far as medical care, the organization offers medical evaluations and treatment, dental and vision care, medication, chiropractic care, acupuncture, physical therapy, and occupational therapy. They can provide interpreters, transportation, and other necessities like hygiene items, food, and clothing.
- Website: STI
- Phone Number: (619) 278 – 2400
9. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP is a program that provides needy families with nutrition benefits to purchase healthy foods. This program is not limited to immigrants; they can apply if eligible. Once you are cleared to stay in the United States, finding income to support your family can be difficult, especially during a pandemic. If that is the case for you, applying for SNAP may be a good option.
Once the application is processed and approved, the individual will receive an Electronic Benefits Transfer or EBT card. Each month, the benefits you were eligible for will be loaded into your account, and you can use the card to buy groceries at the authorized stores and retailers in your area. Unfortunately, undocumented immigrants are not currently eligible for the SNAP program.
- Website: SNAP Benefits
- The phone number depends on the location where you are living.
10. Women Infants and Children (WIC)
The government tries to ensure all legal or undocumented immigrants receive food regularly. Food is a basic need, and immigrant workers are entitled to food. The WIC program does consider undocumented immigrant women for food relief. Pregnant women can receive food vouchers and nutritional advice to ensure the fetus develops appropriately. Mothers with children also receive coupons for purchasing baby formula and other food essentials for the home.
You can apply for the program if you have a little one who requires baby formula. Visit the local offices and talk to them about the eligibility for the program before applying. It suits immigrant women living in a shelter or with good Samaritans who need food.
- Website: Women Infants and Children (WIC)
- Customer Service: 1 (844) 872-4681
11. The Legal Aid Society
The Legal Aid Society is based in New York and focuses on several issues in New York and the country, including immigration. This organization provides legal services for urgent immigration needs, including reunifying families, helping low-income immigrants obtain lawful status, assisting low-income immigrants to apply for citizenship, and defending against deportation.
They are also available to help with advanced planning for non-citizen parents. If you need help, you can call the number below. The helpline operates Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 5 PM and has interpreters available to help people who speak all languages. If you are looking for help related explicitly to DACA status, email dr***@le*******.org.
- Website: Legal Aid Society
- Immigration Law Unit Help Line: ( 844) 955 – 3425
12. Catholic Charities USA
Catholic Charities USA is an organization with a wide range of programs that may be helpful to you, such as affordable housing, mental and physical health, integrated health care, food and nutrition, and disaster relief. Many programs are available to various vulnerable groups, including immigrants and refugees. They have a program designed specifically for immigrants and refugees in need.
This program has two main parts—the first part advocates for policies that protect families and immigrants as they enter the United States. The second part works directly with immigrants and refugees to provide essential services. These services include citizenship education, community outreach, and immigration and legal services. You don’t need to be Catholic to use these services.
- Website: Catholic Charities
- The phone number depends on your location, but you can find all that information on their website.
The US has many illegal immigrants, some of whom are homeless, without any source of income or a way to get legal documents. Programs that help unlawful immigrants ensure they have fundamental human rights like food, shelter, and clothing. Some organizations seek to provide education to undocumented children to keep them safe.
Overall, few government programs cater to the financial needs of undocumented immigrants. Instead, the government would deport illegal immigrants to their country of origin rather than create programs incorporating them into the system. Therefore, undocumented immigrants’ best way to get financial help is through charitable organizations, community outreach, and churches.
How to Get Help From the United Way
United Way Charity is a humanitarian, not a political organization. They do not limit help to legal residents in America. It relies on donations from well-wishers and rich folk across the county. The organization does offer rent assistance and security deposit payments for undocumented workers. There are local charters across different states, and you can contact the local chapter in your state for assistance.
Some charters, like the United Way of California receive donations from individuals and successful business people. Undocumented immigrants are better positioned to receive financial help from the organization. It also helps legal immigrants who cannot meet their rental payments.
However, the help from the charity depends on how much funds they have from donations. Applying for rent assistance is still a good idea if you are an undocumented immigrant facing financial hardships. Application forms are easily accessible to those in need, and applications are reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis.
Head Start Meal Program for Working Immigrants
Head start is a federal government program that seeks to provide food for undocumented immigrants under the age of 5 years. Another benefit of the program is funding the child’s enrollment in school. Kids who enroll in Head Start can receive free meals and food vouchers when they aren’t in school. It is among the few government programs that offer massive benefits to undocumented immigrants.
Undocumented workers can visit the Head Start website for more information and see whether their children meet the requirements. Application forms are available for parents ready to enroll their children in the program.
How Churches Help Undocumented Immigrants
Legal and illegal immigrants can get assistance from churches because they do not discriminate against nationality, religion, age, or the person’s migration status. Some churches with nationwide charities are the Salvation Army and the Catholic Church. Fund funds for the charities include donations, tithes, offerings, and fundraising.
You can visit the nearest Salvation Army or Catholic Church and ask for financial aid for meals or rent assistance. However, you will likely get an invitation to visit their soup kitchen for a meal or live in a shelter until you get a new place. Undocumented immigrants looking for financial o pay medical bills for a family member or friend can appeal to the clergy to plead their case to parish elders for financial help.
Most local programs have an outreach program to help the needy with food, rent, school fees, and medical bills where possible. Undocumented immigrants can start by asking for help from the church they go to for worship. You can also ask friends and colleagues to help you find a Church-funded charity organization near you for financial aid.
FEMA Disaster and Assistance Program
The Federal Emergency Management Agency is part of Homeland Security and has a program that helps undocumented individuals during a disaster. They offer food, shelter, and sometimes employment opportunities for individuals undergoing naturalization. The funds that FEMA allocates to families aren’t disclosed to the public.
Remember that the program is meant to assist during a disaster, but you can receive some funds to pay rental bills or a voucher to buy some essentials. The downside is that many applicants whose assistance you receive will not solve all your financial troubles.
Forms for the programs are available on the website, and immigrants from all over the nation can apply. You can visit the local Homeland Security offices for more information about the program or get assistance in filling out your forms.
Why Doesn’t Cares Help Immigrants?
In 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed to help individuals and families hit hard by the pandemic. The program got a lot of funding from donations and the federal government to assist US citizens. Undocumented immigrants are not US citizens and weren’t eligible for the funds.
There weren’t any government efforts to implement a relief program for undocumented immigrants then. Most immigrants without green cards had to rely on free clinics for medical assistance and charities for rent or finance assistance during the pandemic.
How to Qualify for Assistance as an Immigrant
Most of the programs that cover undocumented immigrants do not have many requirements when it comes to applications. Immigrants can give their nation of origin and any identification documents they possess, even when they are for another company. Charities dedicated to helping undocumented immigrants are not doing anything wrong in the eyes of the law unless that immigrant commits a crime.
Some of the details that illegal immigrants need to answer are the name, age, country of origin, number of individuals per household, and the reason for needing financial aid. Undocumented immigrants have difficulty maintaining one job because of a lack of proper documents. Therefore, most seek financial aid because they cannot meet their basic needs.
The government is working on a few relief funds to assist undocumented immigrants in receiving relief. California has the most significant charity fund for legal and illegal immigrants, thanks to a bill tabled in the senate. Undocumented immigrants can apply for financial aid without worrying about being deported.
How Much Financial Help Can Undocumented Immigrants Get?
On average, immigrant charities provide cash assistance of $500-$1,000, depending on whether the application is for an individual or household. You can expect $200-$500 financial aid depending on the charity you apply for help. Local community and church charities can cater to part or all your bills. You can get assistance to find affordable housing to meet the monthly rent. Apply to several charitable organizations and relief programs if you need a lot of financial aid.
Can Undocumented Immigrants Work?
It is illegal for undocumented immigrants to work in the USA because they lack a work permit or the country’s proper documents. Most illegal immigrants work casual jobs that do not keep a record of workers and pay in cash. Therefore, they do not enjoy employee benefits even when they get a job. Also, an appointment can end a time, and the individual must find a new way to fend for themselves.
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