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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: 1007681

Reported Deaths: 16470
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1355212121
Lake664101166
Allen57993801
Hamilton46350465
St. Joseph44397615
Elkhart35949510
Vanderburgh32251480
Tippecanoe27933260
Johnson25107445
Hendricks23897359
Porter22929365
Madison18748409
Clark18557252
Vigo17479303
Monroe15263200
LaPorte15173250
Delaware15073263
Howard14748290
Kosciusko12348148
Hancock11728176
Bartholomew11639180
Warrick11292189
Floyd11108215
Wayne10986253
Grant10082220
Morgan9472176
Boone8926115
Dubois8271131
Henry8229152
Dearborn822393
Noble8031106
Marshall7939135
Cass7546121
Lawrence7457171
Shelby7189119
Jackson698289
Gibson6597115
Harrison649192
Knox6421106
Huntington6395100
DeKalb632399
Montgomery6264111
Miami593398
Putnam581278
Clinton576171
Whitley565755
Steuben562576
Wabash5332104
Jasper532079
Jefferson511297
Ripley500586
Adams482576
Daviess4677114
Scott438974
Greene425196
Wells424888
Clay423360
White418764
Decatur4169102
Fayette406587
Jennings387361
Posey376644
Washington359151
LaGrange359078
Randolph3452100
Spencer340243
Fountain335760
Sullivan329452
Starke317171
Owen314771
Fulton312667
Orange293664
Jay284645
Franklin265643
Perry265452
Rush262432
Carroll261934
Vermillion258654
Parke231426
Pike229243
Tipton228159
Blackford193142
Pulaski183757
Crawford159823
Newton158348
Benton150617
Brown146747
Martin138719
Switzerland135011
Warren121116
Union107016
Ohio84613
Unassigned0540

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