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WTC memorial service
Society and Community:
The Invisible Ones: Stories
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Carmen is from Ecuador, where three of her children remained with relatives. Her husband was a member of Hotel Employees And Restaurant Employees Local 100. Since he was killed on September 11 the union has come to her aid — paying a life insurance policy and advocating for her with the immigration services and aid organizations. Recently, her children were allowed to join her in New York.

  • (on the aid system) "When I got to the "Your Social Security Number?" I told them, "I don't have one." A lady told me, "If you don't have a Social Security number, we can't help you at all, we just can't." Well, yes, I got up with tears in my eyes, I was getting up when I met another man, and he asked me, "What's the matter?" and I told him, I wanted this but I don't have, and he asked me if I had any children born here, and I told him yes. Then give your child's Social Security number, and that's how they could help me and... But it was only temporary."

  • (on her husband) "So thanks to all of them, they brought my children and put them in my arms, I mean, the arms of my husband too, because he is still in this country and he will always be with us. He is not present in the body, but he is with us."

  • Today undocumented workers and their families are confronted by tougher laws governing immigration and many Americans who favor more restrictive immigration quotas. President Bush and Mexican President Fox were discussing immigration reform before September 11 — those discussions are on hold. New York City continues to be an city of official and unofficial immigrants.

    Immigration in America

    Population of the U.S. in 1855:  23,191,876
    % of population foreign-born:  9.7%
    Population of the U.S. in 2000:  273,643,274
    % of population foreign-born:  8.9%
    Population of New York City in 1855:  650,000
    % of New York City population foreign-born  over 50%
    Population of New York City, 2000:  7,825,848
    % of New York City residents foreign-born:  36.9%
    Sources: THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK, (New York Historical Society, 1995); U.S. Department of the Census, "Current Population Survey Report, 2000;" "Historical Census Statistics on the Foreign-born Population of the United States: 1850-1990"


    Immigration Resources:

    American Family Immigration History Center
    Explore your family history by searching through passenger records, creating a family scrapbook, or reading about the immigrant experience - and think about what makes an American.

    Census Bureau
    Historical Census Statistics on the Foreign-born Population of the United States: 1850-1990

    The Immigration and Naturalization Services
    Access statistics related to immigration in America.

    The PBS program IN THE MIX presents offers a timeline of the major events in the history of U.S. immigration - elsewhere on the site, an exploration of the present-day immigrant experience through the eyes of five teenagers.

    The PBS news program has created a special feature for students on changing immigration policy. View the feature, and link to related resources for teachers and students.

    American History Project
    A wonderful multimedia presentation about the changing face of American immigration from the Library of Congress.

    Undocumented Workers Resources:

    Tepeyac Association
    The Tepeyac Association is a non-profit, community based-organization whose mission is to promote the social welfare and human rights of Mexican immigrants, specifically the undocumented in New York City. Their Web site allows you to register missing persons, presents a list of those that are missing, and offers photographs of the site of the tragedy.

    Local 32 BJ Chapter of Service Employees International Union
    United to improve the lives of working families. The site features stories of workers affected by the tragedy in a section called "Voices from the World Trade Center."

    Federal Emergency Management Agency
    An independent agency reporting to the President responsible for managing all aspects of disaster relief. The FEMA Web site includes information on aid for undocumented individuals (as well as other victims), a full outline of the Federal Response Plan, and a fact sheet on terrorism among other items.

    Red Cross
    The mission of the American Red Cross Disaster Services is to ensure nationwide disaster planning, preparedness, community disaster education, mitigation, and response that will provide the American people with quality services delivered in a uniform, consistent, and responsive manner. In addition to offering information about how to volunteer, the site provides tipsheets on how to prepare for disasters (in many different languages), a FAQ about Anthrax, as well as a curriculum for K-12 teachers interested in helping their students to cope and plan for disasters.

    Windows of Hope Family Relief Fund
    Windows of Hope Family Relief Fund is a charitable organization which was formed to provide aid, future scholarships and funds to the families of the victims of the World Trade Center tragedy who were lost on September 11th and who worked in the food, beverage and hospitality professions throughout the entire complex.

    "AMERICA'S ORDEAL; Gone Without Proof; Financial aid eludes families of undocumented immigrants" - Newsday

    "Loved ones of missing migrants face dilemma" - The Chicago Tribune (via LA Times)

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