EVANS, Colo. (CBS4) – The federal government is ready to help flood victims but some people are reluctant to apply for it because they are in the country illegally.
The Riverside Park neighborhood in Evans suffered major damage and a lot of the homes in the area have already been condemned. It’s also an area with a significant immigrant population. Despite all the work that needs to be done in the neighborhood, many of the residents are afraid to ask for help.
Ruben Roque says those who are undocumented live in fear of deportation and will not add their identities to public records.
“They have fear to be talking about their status and I understand because they don’t know if there is going to be consequences or what,” Roque said.
Erendra Cruz, a young, pregnant mother, is among those whose home is gone. She says she has applied for citizenship and will look to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for assistance.
“I need a place to live, now I’m pregnant and I don’t know where to go,” Cruz said. “We don’t have money, we don’t have (anything).”
FEMA officials want residents to know that their immigration status is protected. Everyone has access to help from volunteer agencies like the Red Cross.
“This is strictly a registration to enable families and individuals to start on that road to recovery,” FEMA Branch Director Steven Ward said. “There is no sharing of information.”
A family with any member born in the U.S. or of legal status can receive full FEMA benefits. It’s the kind of information Roque says needs to be shared to give every family the best shot at recovery.
“We are all in this situation and it’s bad and we all have to be together,” Roque said.
Colorado Floods: How To Help
The recent floods are impacting families and communities throughout Colorado, so CBS4 has compiled a list of ways you can support the local communities impacted by the floods.