FEMA assistance could be available to non U.S. citizens following Matthew

FEMA assistance could be available to non U.S. citizens following Matthew

COLUMBIA, SC (WMBF) – South Carolina residents who are not U.S. citizens may be eligible for disaster assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to recover from Hurricane Matthew storm and flood damage.

According to a FEMA press release, the aid is available to citizens, non-citizen nationals and qualified aliens.

Those qualified aliens include individuals with legal permanent residence, or green card holders, according to FEMA. Their status will not be jeopardized by requesting disaster assistance.

The release states that a non-citizen parent or guardian who is not eligible may register for assistance on behalf of a U.S. born child under age 18. That includes a newborn baby who is a citizen, a non-citizen national or a qualified alien. No information will be gathered on the parent or guardian's status.

Those who register for disaster assistance are required by FEMA to certify whether they are citizens, non-citizens or qualified aliens.

According to information from FEMA, the status of a qualified alien includes:

• Legal permanent residents, or 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

• Those who are Cuban-Haitian entrants

• Those with petitions for relief based on battery or extreme cruelty by a family member

FEMA conducts random audits of applications to verify U.S. citizenship and qualified alien documentation issued by the Immigration and Naturalization Service, according to the release.

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 cash assistance from FEMA may still be eligible for programs run by state, local or voluntary agencies.

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