Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Illegal Aliens Can Need Help During Hurricane Sandy Relief Efforts

Hurricane Sandy And Illegal Residents - How To Help

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy and the ensuing winter storm that is hitting the New York - New Jersey metropolitan area, there is an alarming concern that is growing regarding the safety and well-being of New York residents who were living here in an 'undocumented status' - in another words, they were illegal immigrants - and many of them have been deeply affected and devastated by Hurricane Sandy.

This is not the time to lodge any debate over your belief on whether human beings devastated by this horrific storm should be in the country or not.   

The only thing to remember is that these people - the vast majority trying to build a better life for themselves and their family - have been dramatically hit by the storm and nearly  all of them do not have any safety net such as close-by family, job-related benefits and property insurance.  And they generally have limited financial resources available. 

I am by no means minimizing the difficulties American nations are facing - but this is New York - the amazing place it is because it is made up of immigrants.  And regardless of immigration status - our great city runs as the greatest city in the world because in part of all of our residents.

So today, keep in mind that there are many individuals - similar to 9-11 - who are going to not receive the help and assistance they really need.  And many of these individuals that will fall through the cracks will be the undocumented residents that amongst many things man our restaurants, that tend to our gardens and homes, and most of all, add to the social and cultural vitality that makes New Yorkers global citizens. 

One thing to remember: many of these individuals have young families.  They really need your help.

If you are an 'undocumented resident' and need help, please contact FEMA as they are providing assistance for EVERYONE regardless of residence status.  Also the Red Cross is helping EVERYONE regardless of residence status.  Contact Catholic Charities - you do not need to be Catholic to get help from them - they help everyone equally.  Also, your local churches, synagogues, and mosques are helping EVERYONE regardless of residence status.  Do not be concerned about anything else - these organizations are really only trying to help and are not concerned about anything else.

And to those who are trying to help - remember, many will fall through the cracks.  Your help is so important!

So if you can help in your own way - do so. Now I s The Time To Get involved!

Here are a few important suggestions on how you can do so.

1.  Contact your local church and ask them specifically what type of outreach and assistance they have for all Sandy victims.  Make sure you also ask that they are doing to help undocumented residents and how you can help.  If they have no programs in place to assist Hurricane Sandy victims, consider creating one, or contact a church, synagogue or mosque close by and ask what they're doing. 

2.  Contact any of your local community clubs and organizations such as your local Rotary or Lions Club and ask them what they are doing to help undocumented residents and how you can help. 

3. Contact the leadership of your local schools, or schools in urban areas that have been impacted by the storm, and ask the school's leadership  what they are doing to help undocumented residents and how you can help.

4.  Contact your local hospital's social services department.  Inquire if they are familiar with any cases where a person or family does not have the ability of obtaining assistance (meaning they are undocumented) and ask how you may help.

5.  Contact Catholic Charities and inquire from each one of these offices what they are specifically doing to help undocumented workers and how can you help. I have found Catholic Charities to be resourceful and able to make an impact at the very local level, which is important. 

7.  Some hotels such as Marriott are allowing you to donate your hotel points to the Red Cross without charge.  In turn, the Red Cross is providing shelter in part at hotels such as Marriott for those in need. 

Conversely, if you are an individual living in the New York area without updated or official papers in need of help due to Hurricane Sandy, please know first and foremost that we are a city of immigrants and as a city of immigrants New Yorkers care about one another.  

Make sure you contact FEMA and the organizations listed above in 1-7, including your local church, synagogue, or mosque and ask how they can provide help to you and your family.  

Help is out there.  There are many people who are willing and eager to help those in need.

Remember everyone - we are all in this together.  Acts of humanity and kindness are blind to naturalization papers, religion, color, or religion.  

Please help wherever you can.  And if anyone has any other suggestions or ideas on how we may help, please right to me directly at 

Executive Director

Lastly - this is a press release issued by the Department of Homeland Security.  The agency must be applauded.

ICE-CBP Joint Message Regarding Hurricane Sandy

See translations of this message in SpanishSimplified ChineseHaitian CreoleKorean, andVietnamese.
To the extent that Tropical Storm/Hurricane Sandy (Sandy) impacts law enforcement operations and/or the storm triggers the need for an officially ordered evacuation or an emergency government response, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection's (CBP) highest priorities are to promote life-saving and life-sustaining activities, the safe evacuation of people who are leaving the impacted area, the maintenance of public order, the prevention of the loss of property to the extent possible, and the speedy recovery of the impacted region. 
As such, to the extent that Sandy impacts law enforcement operations and/or the storm triggers the need for an officially ordered evacuation or an emergency government response, there will be no immigration enforcement initiatives associated with evacuations or sheltering related to Sandy, including the use of checkpoints for immigration purposes in impacted areas during an evacuation. If a state or local law enforcement agency determines that individuals in their custody should be transferred or released due to Sandy, the state or local law enforcement agency should not decline to do so solely on the basis of an immigration detainer issued by ICE or CBP.
If a state or law enforcement agency does decide to release an individual subject to an ICE or CBP detainer based on Sandy, the agency should, wherever possible, contact the local ICE or CBP office prior to any such release to ensure that the release does not pose a danger to the community. When determining how to handle individuals in state or local detention during an emergency, state and local law enforcement agencies should act consistently with the safety needs of their local communities and the individual detainees. 
The Department's law enforcement components will be at the ready to help anyone in need of assistance. The laws will not be suspended, and we will be vigilant against any effort by criminals to exploit disruptions caused by Sandy. Nevertheless, in the event of an evacuation or response, we are committed to making sure that we can assist local authorities quickly, safely, and efficiently. 
ICE and CBP also seek to provide for the safety and security of those in our custody and to protect them from bodily harm in the event of a hurricane or a major destructive storm. Should the need arise because of Sandy, ICE will transfer detainees from affected detention facilities. In the event of a transfer, the detainee's attorney of record will be notified, the Online Detainer Locator will be updated, and the transfer will be temporary in nature.
Thomas S. Winkowski
Chief Operating Officer
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Daniel H. Ragsdale
Acting Deputy Director
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

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