The information provided here is for families with members who are not U.S. citizens. It also applies to agencies that help immigrant families affected by a disaster.
Excerpted from NILC’s Guide to Immigrant Eligibility for Federal Programs, 2002 ed.
Hurricane Katrina and Gulf Coast-related Information
The National Immigration Law Center (NILC) shares the concerns regarding labor conditions in the Gulf Coast that are the subject of a letter sent today by Senator Edward Kennedy and Senator Mary Landrieu to Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao.
Literally millions of federal dollars have been awarded to corporations to repair and rebuild the Gulf Coast region. A lack of federal oversight of these contracts and lax enforcement of fundamental labor laws is allowing the Gulf Coast to be rebuilt on the backs of underpaid or unpaid workers toiling in substandard working conditions. The work in the Gulf Coast region must not be carried out in sweatshop conditions.
Like all others who have suffered from the hurricane and its aftermath, non-U.S. citizens who were living in the affected zone when Katrina hit have lost their lives, their loved ones, their homes, jobs, and possessions. Their need for relief is the same as that of other survivors, but other circumstances they face as noncitizens could prevent them from accessing relief that is available to others. Hence the recommendations in this memo.
The House bill that passed on Sept. 21, 2005, is disappointing because it leaves in place provisions of our immigration law that threaten to act as a second wave of harm to hurricane survivors whose livelihood has already been destroyed by the storm.