Helping undocmented people is always important; however, during the COVID-19 pandemic it’s even more pressing an issue than ever. Governments around the world have asked everyone that has the ability to stay home to do so in an effort to slow the spread of the deadly virus. This ask, in itself, is for the privileged that either have the ability to work from home or have enough savings to shelter in place without pay for as long as deemed necessary. While some undocumented people have this privilege, many others do not.
Overwhelming Support and Need for Undocumented Communities
On March 18th, NYSYLC launched a fundraiser to help undocomented people who are being impacted by COVID-19. “We are working to raise funds to support undocumented youth and their families in New York City during the time of COVID-19,” they state on their fundraiser page. NYSYLC is the first undocumented, youth-led organization in New York. “Our goal is to raise funds to provide emergency and preventative resources to those at financial risk.”
To date they have raised over $100,000 and distributed funds of $500-$1000 to 100 undocumented youth and their families, and plan to distribute more in the coming weeks to meet the demand; they recently increased their funding goal to $125,000 to help support the over 1,500 requests for support they have received. They are continuing to collect donations to help affected undocumented communities in New York.
A few weeks later, on April 1st, a group of fifteen volunteers at Techqueria — a nonprofit serving Latinx people in the tech industry — launched their fundraiser to help support undocumented people as well. The outpouring of support has been amazing. “There was an overwhelming amount of donations and requests. We reached our first goal of $15k in the first 24 hours and continue increasing our goal in hopes that we can distribute as much as possible to help communities that really need the help,” board member David Silva told BELatina News.
Both organizations have received a lot of support and a lot of requests from the community for funding. “By April 5th Techqueria made the decision to close applications for funding after receiving 682 applications,” said the organization’s executive director Frances Coronel. You can help Techqueria reach their goal of $50,000 so that they can start distributing funds to those who applied.
Government Decides to Leave Undocumented People Out of Support Efforts
In the United States, the federal government has passed a (highly confusing) stimulus package that includes a one-time payment to some families. Despite some elected officials and organizations calling on the federal government to explicitly include payments to non-citizens, the federal government refused to.
In an effort to help people understand the stimulus package, World Cup champion Megan Rapinoe and AOC spoke about what the package actually means. Ocasio-Cortez stated that Republican lawmakers explicitly insisted that “anything that included immigrants was a non-starter.”
To be clear, undocumented people deserve to be helped on the basis of them being human; however, it is important to note that undocumented people pay almost $14 billion dollars in taxes. Leaving them out of the stimulus package is cruel, irresponsible, and intentional. In short, undocumented people are being kept, once again, from accessing the support they provide to the United States government and society at large.
Support for Undocumented Communites
Both NYSYLC and Techqueria are proud of what they have accomplished so far and remain hopeful and helpful to the communities. “The uncertainty and discomfort that many people are experiencing for the first time now, our communities have felt before, we have always achieved more than others expected of us, and this time around it won’t be different. We’re coming out stronger off this pandemic, and we’ll continue inspiring others to serve and make a better society, more [equitable] for everyone,” said Susie Ximenez from Techqueria.
On their GoFundMe page, NYSYLC shared, “It feels incredible to meet the goal of $100,000 and know that our community can do what the government fails to do.”