EAGLE PASS, Texas -- People who are not U.S. citizens may be eligible for disaster assistance for damage from the severe storms and tornadoes of April 21-24.
Disaster assistance is available to residents and businesses in Denton, Maverick, Moore, and Swisher counties, which were designated disaster areas by President Bush.
The aid is available to citizens, non-citizen nationals, and qualified aliens. Qualified aliens include those with lawful permanent residence (shown by their Alien Registration Receipt Cards, also called “green cards”). Their status will not be jeopardized by applying for FEMA assistance.
A minor child, who is a citizen, can have a parent or guardian who is not eligible apply for assistance on the child’s behalf. The guardian only certifies for the child. No information will be gathered on the adult’s status.
The status of qualified alien includes:
- Legal permanent residents (those with green cards);
- Those with refugee or asylum status;
- Those whose deportation has been withheld;
- Those on parole into the U.S. for at least one year for humanitarian purposes;
- Those with conditional entry;
- Cuban-Haitian entrants; and
- Those with petitions for relief based on battery or extreme cruelty by a family member.
The application for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) requires applicants to certify that they are citizens, non-citizen nationals, or qualified aliens. FEMA conducts random audits of applications to verify U.S. citizenship and qualified alien documentation issued by the
Immigration and Naturalization Service. However, assistance can be given as long as someone in the household is entitled to it, and no information will be gathered regarding the status of others in the household.
Undocumented immigrants from a household with no one eligible for financial assistance from FEMA 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 disaster legal services and crisis counseling.
Assistance for eligible individuals and households includes funds for temporary housing and necessary home repairs, funds for the repair or replacement of personal property and other disaster-related needs, disaster unemployment assistance, low-interest loans for homeowners and businesses from the U.S. Small Business Administration and other programs.
Applicants with damage from the disaster can still register for state and federal assistance at 1- 800-621-FEMA (3362), or (TTY) 1-800-462-7585. The toll-free lines are open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week. They can also register online at www.fema.gov.