El PASO, Texas -- Non-citizens who suffered damages in recent storms in El Paso County may be eligible for assistance from a variety of sources. To qualify for federal monetary assistance, an applicant must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or a "qualified alien," which is defined below.
However, undocumented aliens may qualify for other disaster relief programs such as crisis counseling, disaster legal services, and other short-term non-cash emergency aid.
In addition, if the family has a child who is a U.S. citizen, they can apply on behalf of the child or on behalf of any other adult member of the household who may qualify. FEMA will not ask for information about immigration status.
Even if they do not qualify for federal aid, applicants can call FEMA at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or apply online at www.fema.gov to be referred to programs run by state and local agencies, or volunteer agencies that can help regardless of immigration status.
A "qualified alien" includes anyone granted: legal permanent residence (green card holders); asylum; refugee status; withholding of deportation; conditional entry; or parole into the United States for at least one year. It also includes Cuban-Haitian entrants, or a battered spouse (or child) with a pending or approved spousal petition or petition for relief.
FEMA manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates mitigation activities, works with state and local emergency managers, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.