As the coronavirus crisis continues, many undocumented workers here in the valley have lost their jobs even in essential industries.
From farm and restaurant workers to those in service industries, many are out of a job.
“We get calls at one, two, three, four and five in the morning…there is so much anxiety,” said Luz Gallegos, director of TODEC.
TODEC is a non profit that helps undocumented immigrants. Gallegos says they’ve received thousands of calls in the last 24 hours alone.
“We’re documenting all these stories people are not sleeping. They just want someone to hear them and what they’re going through,” she said.
One undocumented valley woman, Elisa, that spoke to News Channel 3 says she and her husband both worked in the fields and have have been recently laid off: “I haven’t worked for four weeks now. It’s been really, really hard,” she said. “I have a ten-year-old daughter. We’re undocumented and we can’t get any kind of help like unemployment or anything.”
She called TODEC’s hotline: 1-888-TODEC-91. The organization is now helping her with rent and utility assistance.
TODEC says they also get multiple calls a day from people experiencing coronavirus symptoms but too afraid to get tested -- fearful of deportation.
TODEC staff members are urging them to call their hotline and prioritize their health. “If we’re not healthy and we pass away because of COVID...then we’re never going to see that green card,” said Gallegos.
With jobs lost and hours cut, she says many are also struggling to put food on the table. TODEC says they have a list of resources online, including places offering food assistance to those in need -- no questions asked.