Undocumented students voice concern over lack of federal aid during pandemic

Students can apply to both DACA renewal fund, emergency fund during same semester



Linda Vargas, Undocumented Inititatives ambassador and sophomore environmental science major, said the DACA renewal fund brings the cost down to $250.

BRADLEY GAMBLE, Evergreen reporter

When the United States government announced that undocumented immigrants would not be receiving any stimulus checks, it caused worry among community members, including many WSU students.

Linda Vargas, sophomore environmental science major, said undocumented immigrants should receive these checks since the checks are supposed to help everyone who is financially struggling due to COVID-19.

“The money is coming from taxpayers to begin with and undocumented immigrants contribute to taxes,” she said. “It would only be fair that they get help as well.”

Raul Jimenez, junior digital technology culture major, said Congress should be sending money to all workers who have lost out on income and continue to pay taxes.

“If Congress says they are supporting taxpayers and then to hold some people back from receiving that support, I don’t see how that adds up,” he said. “How can they say they are helping out everybody who pays taxes, but in the end don’t.”

Vargas said she has doubts that Congress will be able to pass any law that could help undocumented immigrants gain access to stimulus checks.

“I think it would be very important for them to do that, but now it’s basically impossible as Congress can never really agree on things,” she said. “I don’t think we can expect that they will come up with something for stimulus checks in such a short period of time.”

Vargas said she is expecting the state government to help undocumented immigrants get money rather than the national government.

“California has already taken an initiative, they’re giving $500 to undocumented immigrants,” she said. “Hopefully Governor Jay Inslee will follow California’s example and start creating more opportunities for these populations to get funds, so they can pay their bills and have access to food.”

Vargas said there could be a decrease in attendance at WSU with students who do not receive stimulus checks, if they have to work in order to help their families pay bills.

“A lot of students might find themselves drowning in payments, so they might decide to work instead of return to WSU,” she said. “That is the thing I fear the most, that students, especially DACA recipients or undocumented students, will decide they don’t want to come back next year and work.”

She said this situation should be an eye-opener for immigration reform since many of the essential workers are undocumented.

“They are so dedicated to their work that they are risking their lives for this country and its citizens,” she said. “We have to take this into consideration when we think of a permanent solution for DACA and immigration reform that will allow DACA students to have a path to citizenship or residency.”

Jimenez said Crimson Group has increased the amount of aid they can give this semester with the Crimson for a Cause Emergency Assistance Fund.

“Before, undocumented students could only apply for a DACA renewel fund or an emergency fund once per semester.” he said. “Now, because of the current situation, we decided to allow a student to apply for both in one semester.”

The Crimson Group has been posting information on resources for undocumented immigrants on their Facebook page.

Vargas said the best thing that anyone looking to help undocumented immigrants could do is donate to non-profits.

Anyone who wants to donate to an affected family can do so through the GoFundme page for the Betancourt-Macias Family Scholarship Foundation. Undocumented people living in Washington can apply for the COVID-19 relief fund through this link.