The number of families impacted is still unknown as the business closures and more social distancing measures are being ordered. However, the impact is real and for undocumented families, federal help is not available. An estimated 250,000 undocumented immigrants live and work in Massachusetts. Unlike other pandemic victims, undocumented immigrants do not qualify for federal assistance such as FEMA nor Unemployment benefits.
Even when they or their children are eligible for resources and services, their lack of immigration status, limited English proficiency, and fear of immigration enforcement prevent them from seeking assistance. Their fear, discomfort or lack of familiarity with law enforcement, county government, and mainstream aid organizations present additional barriers. In addition, many fundraisers from non-profits, local government, and individuals/groups have barriers that prevent undocumented families from applying, such as communication and translation to outreach and relationships with immigrant communities. At every turn, our undocumented neighbors face barriers and challenges to recovering from the pandemic.