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Information from Government Agencies



USCIS Reminds Individuals Affected by Hurricane Sandy of Temporary Immigration Relief Measures (USCIS webpage)

“U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reminds customers affected by Hurricane Sandy of certain U.S. immigration benefits or relief that may be available to them.
USCIS understands that a natural disaster can affect an individual’s ability to maintain lawful immigration status or obtain certain other immigration benefits. Eligible individuals may request or apply for temporary relief measures, including . . .”

USCIS Announces Interim Relief for Foreign Students Adversely Impacted by Hurricane Katrina (PDF)

U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services press release dated Nov. 25, 2005.

Remedial Measures Made Necessary by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita (PDF)

U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services interoffice memo dated 10/5/05. Excerpt: “In general, USCIS employees should take a generous approach to addressing issues brought about by the hurricanes and should use whatever proper means are available to them to remedy hurricane-related immigration situations. . . . This guidance covers individuals or entities who can establish that they resided, worked, or operated their professional business or other entity in an affected area of Louisiana, Mississippi, or Alabama at the time of Hurricane Katrina (on or about August 29, 2005), or an affected area of Texas or Louisiana at the time of Hurricane Rita (on or about September 23, 2005), regardless of where those individuals or entities may be currently located.”

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Operations after Hurricane Katrina FAQ (PDF)

USCIS Interoffice Memo on Fee Waivers for Hurricane Katrina Victims (PDF)


Statement by Immigration & Customs Enforcement and Customs & Border Protection as Hurricane/Tropical Storm Sandy Approached the East Coast

October 26, 2012.

Letter from Immigration & Customs Enforcement and Customs & Border Protection as Hurricane/Tropical Storm Isaac Approached Florida and the Gulf Coast

August 27, 2012.

ICE Statement of Priorities as Hurricane Alex Approached South Texas

June 29, 2010.


Notice Regarding I-9 Documentation Requirements for Hiring Hurricane Victims (PDF)

Press release from the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security dated Sept. 6, 2005.

Workers who are denied employment for lack of documents that satisfy the I-9 requirements may contact the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) through the employee hotline at 800-255-7688 or visit


Disaster Assistance: Frequently Asked Questions

"Housing Needs" and "Other Than Housing Needs" Assistance

"Housing Needs" assistance may provide financial help for temporary housing, home repair, home replacement, and housing construction. To be eligible for this assistance, the person or a household member must be a U.S. citizen, a noncitizen national, or a "qualified alien."

"Other Than Housing Needs" assistance provides money for necessary expenses or serious needs that are the result of the disaster. To be eligible for this assistance, the person or a household member must be a U.S. citizen, a noncitizen national, or a "qualified alien." Information about who qualifies for this kind of help is available here.

Apply for FEMA Aid (by phone or online)

Help After a Disaster
Applicant's Guide to the Individuals & Households Program (PDF)


Finding Lost Family and Friends and Finding and Managing Pets

Your family may not all be in one location when a disaster strikes. It is important to plan in advance. How you will get to a safe place? How you will contact one another? How you will get back together? What will you do in different situations? These resources can help you plan ahead and find family, friends, and pets after a disaster.


U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Food & Nutrition Service (FNS)

Disaster Assistance (webpage with links to FNS disaster-assistance resources)

The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture provides temporary food assistance for households affected by a natural disaster through the D-SNAP program. Citizenship status is not relevant for D-SNAP eligibility.


U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

Multifamily Housing Guidance for Disaster Recovery

Over the years the department has acquired a great deal of knowledge on how to efficiently respond to a presidentially declared disaster (PDD) and developed guidance that covers the many different aspects of servicing multifamily properties that were damaged or vacated as a result of a PDD.


After Hurricane Katrina, Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt declared a public health emergency for affected areas, allowing it to waive certain Medicaid, SCHIP, Medicare, and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requirements. The public health emergency also allows HHS to make grants and enter into contracts more expeditiously. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is currently working to ensure that Medicaid, SCHIP, and Medicare will accommodate the emergency health care needs of beneficiaries and medical providers in states devastated by the hurricane. CMS also will ease the programs’ normal operating procedures to speed provision of health care services, waiving some documentation requirements. Federal Medicaid officials are also working with state Medicaid agencies to coordinate resolution of interstate payment agreements for recipients served outside their home states. See APHSA memo and CMS Medicaid fact sheet below for details.


Hurricane Katrina-Related Immigration Issues and Legislation (PDF)

Congressional Research Service report, 9/19/05.