Undocumented Flint residents fear receiving water

Undocumented Flint residents fear receiving water

FLINT, MI (WLNS)- Members of Cristo Rey Church loaded up and hit the road with the goal of reaching a population that is still very much in need of help.

6 News took the journey with them to Flint today as they work to reach the undocumented immigrants and spread the word that help is available for everyone who needs it.

“Come on its time to go” Lupe Castillo said.

The trunk of a truck filled with baby wipes closes, as Lansing’s Cristo Rey Church packs a truck filled with baby wipes, and a semi filled with water.

This is all in an effort to help undocumented families in Flint.

“I understand they are asking for documentation. Well those that are not, undocumented, have a fear of, oh what immigration is going to come tomorrow and pick me up and deport me. And, and that should not happen!” John Castillo of Cristo Rey Church said.

Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Flint is the destination for Cristo Rey’s supplies.

Volunteers there have been handing out water, filters, and test kits to all families in need but say there are at least a thousand undocumented residents in Flint, and some are afraid to take any hand-outs.

“They hear the knock on the door or see the police or somebody of authority and they’re afraid to open the door. They’re not even going to open the door, you know I put myself in their shoes and I think how would I react, I think I’d be the same way” Our Lady of Guadalupe Church member Mary Mosqueda said.

Victoria Arteaga agrees, Arteaga recalls a story a woman told her; The said she visited her friends who were undocumented, and a situation involving people dropping off water occurred while she was there.

“She said, they knocked on the door and they said “Police, water!”. Well they didn’t hear “water” all they heard was “police” and everyone went in the kitchen and everyone was arguing and not going to the door. She said “Look I’m just visiting I’m going to the door.” She went to the door gave them her name, they gave her a filter, and off they went.” Arteaga shared.

Victoria Arteaga is an immigration attorney in Flint.

According to Arteaga, even though state officials have announced that ID’s are not required, and everyone is entitled to resources, that’s hasn’t really been the case.

“While the policy is that anyone can get a filter it is not happening in practice” Victoria Arteaga said.

“I have been to an office where I’ve said I need water. They said, I need a state ID, a valid state ID, and proof that you are a resident of the city of Flint. Before I can give you a filter.” Arteaga said.

According to Red Cross officials, that’s not the norm and they want all residents in Flint to know, if someone knocks on your door, they are only there to help.

“Red Cross is here to serve everyone documented, undocumented” Yanna Saunders, Red Cross volunteer said.

According to the Red Cross, the city of Flint is working to get every home a water filter regardless of immigration status, and they’re hoping everyone will open their door and accept the help.

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