Being undocumented during the COVID-19 pandemic in West Phoenix

Posted at 2:25 PM, Aug 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-21 23:34:35-04

PHOENIX — The COVID-19 pandemic continues to hit the hardest in areas where the undocumented live. These underserved communities say they’re feeling helpless after losing their jobs. That has also cut off their access to public benefits or health insurance.

The ABC15 Investigators spoke to a mother in West Phoenix struggling to make ends meet after losing her job and having no help to care for her bedridden daughter.

“I’m always thinking how I’m going to survive the next day,” expressed “Clara” an undocumented woman, whose identity is being protected for safety reasons.

Clara and her 26-year-old daughter have been living in a hidden neighborhood in a secluded area in West Phoenix for the last three years.

Clara says they never had much, but always enough to get by. That was until the COVID-19 pandemic took her job and everything else that comes with it.

“This is exhausting and stressful. I'm always thinking about how I’m going to pay the rent, my electricity, food, medicine and diapers,” Clara said.

Clara owes two months of rent and electricity bills, something that she says is taking a toll on her mental health.

“Even asleep, I’m always thinking how I'm going to survive the next day.”

She says her biggest fear is getting evicted.

“To think, where I would end up with my daughter. Sometimes I think about what I would do if I end up in the streets, living in my car with my kid.”

Clara’s daughter is intellectually disabled, diagnosed with hydrocephalus while makes her bedridden. Her daughter is also a DREAMer, but Clara says they couldn’t afford the application for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

Both mom and daughter are now left without a legal status, so they don’t qualify for unemployment or disability benefits.

“There’s no day that I don't cry. I always pray to God for a better life,” expressed Clara.

Clara says she also prays for a life where she won’t feel ignored and where she won’t need to live in the shadows.

“I hope one day I could give my daughter the life she deserves,” said Clara.

Clara hopes her story can get to any government official, so they won’t forget that the undocumented are also part of the community.

“I only pray to God that this touches their hearts, and for them to see the real need.”

To help Clara, contact De Mujer a Mujer, a group of women handling donations for Clara.