Disaster Assistance Available For Non-Citizens

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Release date: 
August 4, 2008
Release Number: 
1780-003

McALLEN, Texas -- People who are not U.S. citizens-but who are in the United States legally-may still be eligible for disaster aid according to officials from the Texas Governor?s Division of Emergency Management (GDEM) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

"We don't want any residents who might be eligible to miss out on valuable disaster assistance that could help them get back on their feet," said Federal Coordinating Officer Sandy Coachman. "If disaster- affected Texans are in doubt, they should apply for assistance and FEMA will determine their eligibility."

Under the presidential declaration, disaster assistance is available to residents and business owners in the counties of Cameron, Hidalgo and Willacy.

Applicants must be U.S. citizens, non-citizen nationals or qualified aliens to receive FEMA monetary assistance. Their legal status will not be jeopardized by applying for assistance.
Qualified aliens include:

  • Individuals with Lawful Permanent Residency (holders of "green cards");
  • Those with refugee or asylum status;
  • Those whose deportation has been withheld;
  • Those on parole in the U.S. for at least one year for humanitarian purposes;
  • Those with conditional entry;
  • Cuban or Haitian entrants; and
  • Those with petitions for relief based on battery or extreme cruelty by a family member.

Assistance can be given as long as someone in a household is entitled to it, and no information will be gathered regarding the status of other household members. For example, a parent or guardian who is not eligible for assistance can still apply on behalf of a minor child who is a?? U.S. citizen, non-citizen national or qualified alien. The guardian only certifies for the child; no information will be gathered on the adult's status.

Undocumented immigrants from a household with no one eligible for FEMA financial assistance may still be eligible for programs run by state, local or voluntary agencies. They may also be eligible for short-term, non-cash aid from FEMA, such as crisis counseling.

Applicants with losses and damages as a result of Hurricane Dolly who live in the three federally declared counties can register with FEMA by calling 1- 800-621-FEMA (3362), or (TTY) 1-800-462-7585. The toll-free lines are open daily from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. They can also register online at www.fema.gov.

Last Updated: 
July 16, 2012 - 18:46
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