Assistance for undocumented or illegal immigrants.
Undocumented immigrants, as well as those that legally in this country, can oftentimes get assistance for their needs as well. There are states that can provide government benefits as well as several charities that offer help in an emergency. Everything from housing placement to free food, financial assistance for paying bills, employment opportunities, legal protections, and other support may be given to immigrants.
Services are often provided in many languages as well. Immigrants that speak Spanish, Mandarin, Vietnamese, or any other number of languages can apply for assistance. There is also help provided for undocumented children who tend to be most vulnerable without some form of support. Another focus is on protecting senior citizens as well as the elderly. The primary resources, as well as agencies for legal or undocumented or illegal immigrants to contact are below. Each of them focuses on different needs.
Housing programs available for immigrants
As noted, some assistance is generally available, especially for housing, rent, food, medical care, and critical needs. However there are no guarantees. Many of the resources for undocumented immigrants are also very regional, as some states (as well as non-profits that operate in them) are more accommodating than others.
Rent as well as housing assistance is not mandated by the government. However there are many charities that offer solutions. As at the end of the day no organizations want an undocumented immigrant, or one who is in the process of applying for citizenship, to be homeless. This does not do society any good.
There are a few options available. The first will be financial aid that can help with rental payments. This solution tends to be if the immigrant has some form of employment and is more stable. Everything from homeless prevention to cash grants may be offered.
Illegal, or undocumented immigrants, without any form of stability may be better served by short term, emergency housing such as shelter or transitional units. Even these programs will tend to be more restricted, as groups such as the Salvation Army will limit who or who can’t use them. But they may be an option. Find more details on transitional housing programs.
If the shelters are full, then vouchers can be given to pay for a motel or even hotel room. This is a government benefit for undocumented immigrants, especially those with children, that is more common in some states. It will only pay for a limited amount of time; normally a night or two. Locate motel voucher assistance programs.
Free or low-cost food, meals, and hunger prevention
One benefit that undocumented immigrants are entitled too is food as well as general hunger prevention. The federal government in fact requires states to offer this solution to migrant farm workers, immigrants, and even refugees. There are a few different options available.
For ongoing, long term support, SNAP food stamps are available. This assistance program will help the immigrant afford the groceries they need on a monthly basis. An EBT debit card will be issued to them which can be used at a grocery store.
As noted, children (especially newborns as well as babies) are a focus. Illegal immigrants with new babies, or even pregnant women, can apply for the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program. This provides a free voucher to use for buying formula or other critical food items for the mom (or pregnant woman). The government also provides general nutritional counseling to undocumented as well as legal immigrants. Read more on WIC benefits.
Undocumented children under the age of 5 can get free meals and/or food if they enroll into Head Start. The federal government funded benefit even provides educational support at the same time. While the kid is at school, they can eat, be given breakfast and/or a free lunch, learn about K-12 education, and learn. The assistance program therefore has many benefits for undocumented immigrants, and find more information on the Head Start benefit.
Health care for undocumented immigrants
The first option in Emergency Medicaid. Both the federal government as well as states contribute to this benefit. It is legally required to be offered to all people in this country, whether they are legal or not. So an immigrant can have a portion of their medical bills paid, by given lost cost prescription drugs, and other health care. Call a local social or human service office for this form of support.
Illegal immigrants often turn to sliding fee or free community clinics for their medical care as well. These are located in rural communities, cities, and really most towns and counties. Most of them are set up at charity organizations and are operated by volunteers. Some doctors offer care or a dentist may even provide free checkups or tooth cleaning to undocumented immigrants, including children or the elderly. There are both dental clinics as well as those that focus on other services, including clinics for medical care.
States often offer health care for the uninsured as well. In some parts of the country this will cover immigrants that are not documented. But some state benefits may not be as flexible. However these uninsured assistance programs are another possible way to get free or discounted medical care.
Immigrant financial assistance programs
This form of support is more difficult to get. Some charities or churches may assist, but each organization will have their own application processes as well as funding levels. Grant based programs may require proof of identification or residency, which an undocumented immigrant may not be able to receive. There may also be some loans available that are based on the immigrants’ weekly paycheck or income.
No matter the immigrant’s religion, rage, or nationality, a church is often very willing to help. They often collect tithes from their members, or they receive donated goods from the community. This allows the parish to offer everything from a box of food to a few dollars to pay for housing, gasoline, or offer clothing. Find a listing of financial assistance programs from churches.
Many national charities also offer free financial help to immigrants, both legal or illegal. There are dozens to try, ranging from the Salvation Army to Catholic Charities, United Way and others. Each will focus on assisting with a certain type of bill. Everything from emergency housing to food, bus vouchers, or free clothing for work may be given to undocumented workers. Other aid may also be arranged, and locate charities that help pay bills both at the local as well as national level.
Undocumented immigrants can also receive money from low interest rate or even payday loans. However, this should really be a last resort. As the risk to an illegal immigrant in borrowing money to pay for monthly bills is very high. Using some form of loan can put the individual on a path to financial hardship, but it is an option.
Immigrants will also need to eventually build credit as well. This can sometimes be a challenge when entering the United States, but there is assistance available as well as steps to take to start the process to establish a financial history. Find how immigrants can start to build credit.
Many immigrants, whether undocumented or legal, do not have checking or saving accounts; they are unbanked. They also may tend to send money “home” or overseas to help support their families. Prepaid cards can help them write checks, save money, build credit, and have other advantages. Find prepaid cards for the unbanked.
Immigrants can also get help in transferring their money overseas. Many have family they support if and when possible. There are smartphone apps that are free to use (or have very low fees) for sending funds, whether from a job or some other source, to foreign countries. Find the leading apps for sending money overseas.
As noted some state governments offer their own cash assistance or benefits to undocumented immigrants. This is generally done at the local level as most federal government programs, including TANF welfare, do not assist immigrants. Therefore the state may step in to offer financial help, whether it is a disability resource, information on employment opportunities, or other support. Find more details on assistance from the government.
When deportation occurs, or an illegal immigrant is threatened by it, then a free lawyer consultation may be useful. The police may arrest an undocumented immigrant. Or there may also be “raids” by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) or some other federal government organization. If/when this occurs, and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency becomes involved, an immigrant can seek free legal aid from charities or even volunteer lawyers. There are resources to ensure legal rights are protected from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or other related government groups.
Jobs and employment opportunities for immigrants
An opportunity that is available for immigrants is to make an income working at home. There are jobs out there for those of all backgrounds, nationalities, and languages. There are work from home positions for Spanish speakers, Cubans, Koreans, Chinese, and really all ethnicities.
The money they earn can help them supplement other jobs they may have. Normally a W-9 or identification is not needed for these work from home jobs, and their paycheck may be “under the table” and/or does not need to be reported to the IRS or the government. As an example of what may be out there for illegal or undocumented immigrants, they can do things such as find hobbies for extra cash. Or there are gig economy type jobs and much more.