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Indiana women's fund helps immigrant families amid pandemic

Three Indiana women who moved to the United States as children have created a fund to help immigrant families who don't qualify for government aid and have lost their jobs during the coronavirus pandemic.

Posted: May 11, 2020 9:47 AM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Three Indiana women who moved to the United States as children have created a fund to help immigrant families who don't qualify for government aid and have lost their jobs during the coronavirus pandemic.

The women joined other volunteers, many of whom are also recipients under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, in an effort to raise awareness of working-class families — including people living in the country illegally.

The Undocumented Hoosier Support Fund will help about 800 families pay for utilities, medical expenses or a whole month’s worth of food, The Indianapolis Star reported.

“We're called essential workers but when we don't have access to sick pay or protection to stay safe at work without exposing our families, that tells us we're disposable,” said Dara Marquez, one of the three women who started the fund group.

Marquez and her two friends, Wendy Catalán Ruana and Mari Luna, have been advocates for their families and for themselves from a young age.

They were brought to the U.S. from Mexico as infants, and Indiana has been their home since. DACA recipients are able to work legally in the U.S., and they pay taxes. But individuals living in the U.S. illegally do not qualify for any state or federal aid, including the stimulus package that was approved during the pandemic.

The stimulus package excluded millions of tax-paying immigrants, including U.S. citizens married to immigrants living in the country without legal permission, which also excluded their U.S. citizen children.

“We're the children of immigrants and no one else can tell the stories of our families as we can,” Marquez said. “Without our voice being the loudest, we wouldn't be able to make a difference.”

The group of volunteers came from organizations like the Indiana Undocumented Youth Alliance; immigrant-led movement and activist group Cosecha Indiana; and two student-led groups, Proyecto Siembra and Dreamers Alliance: United as One.

In about three weeks, the group raised more than $27,000 and has also received an additional $35,000 from the Central Indiana Community Foundation.

At the Immigrant Welcome Center, volunteers have helped nearly 10,000 immigrants find assistance. Dana Harrison, the center's interim executive director said the need will keep growing, which is why the availability of funds like the Undocumented Hoosier Support Fund is very important at this time.

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Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 667262

Reported Deaths: 12737
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion913541660
Lake48729891
Allen36175646
Hamilton32489398
St. Joseph30361514
Elkhart25536420
Vanderburgh21343382
Tippecanoe20240205
Johnson16485363
Porter16077281
Hendricks15955302
Clark12079182
Madison11810323
Vigo11699234
Monroe10440164
Delaware9899179
LaPorte9838201
Howard9127203
Kosciusko8600111
Bartholomew7531147
Hancock7471134
Warrick7456153
Floyd7269173
Wayne6661192
Grant6465158
Boone618691
Morgan6135129
Dubois5942112
Dearborn551570
Cass5489100
Marshall5456105
Henry544395
Noble513878
Jackson465967
Shelby463591
Lawrence4197113
Gibson405585
Harrison404065
Clinton397653
Montgomery391984
DeKalb388278
Miami358463
Knox357886
Whitley352438
Huntington350877
Steuben340455
Putnam334660
Wabash333976
Ripley328062
Adams326349
Jasper319343
White298553
Jefferson296574
Daviess286196
Fayette272756
Decatur271688
Greene262680
Posey261732
Wells259175
Scott252150
LaGrange242670
Clay241644
Randolph226577
Spencer219630
Jennings216944
Washington213327
Sullivan203839
Fountain202842
Starke190051
Owen184254
Fulton179937
Jay178828
Carroll176919
Perry174136
Orange171451
Rush165722
Vermillion161543
Franklin160135
Tipton150041
Parke140216
Pike128633
Blackford120727
Pulaski107844
Newton96832
Brown95340
Crawford92613
Benton92513
Martin80314
Warren76014
Switzerland7568
Union67510
Ohio54211
Unassigned0427

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