New York – A group of immigrants who worked in the cleaning work after the attack on the Twin Towers demanded this Saturday in New York that their immigration status be at least legalized, having already passed 21 years since the attack.
That migratory regularization would be the minimum compensation for the health problems they face due to that hard work and that in some cases has cost the lives of other colleagues.
“Their health continues to deteriorate, and this is a sad reality with which they live,” Rosa Bramble Caballero, a clinical social worker, a specialist in migratory traumas, who helps a group of these immigrants both professionally and through the group, told Efe. Our Heroes, which she founded and directs and who called a press conference today.RELATED
He recalled that after the 2001 terrorist attack, these immigrants, mostly Latinos, “never hesitated” to do the hard work of cleaning commercial buildings and homes, although they did not know that those tasks they carried out covered in ashes and dust exposed to chemical contamination.
“They never asked for documents” at that time to do their job, argued Bramble Caballero, a Venezuelan, adding that many got sick and returned to their countries, where they died, and others stayed in the United States.
In the cleaning tasks of the place of the attack, these immigrants worked without adequate protection or without any at all and ate in the same place where they cleaned, recalled the executive director of Our Heroes, which operates under the Venezuelan Alliance for Community Support. , which helps workers, both in the fight to reach their claim and with funds through donations.
Immigrants have waited for years for a bill to be submitted to Congress that would give them protection and put them on the path to citizenship. In 2017, then-Congressman Joe Crowley presented a proposal for the benefit of first responders and cleaning workers, but it was never discussed in Congress, the activist said.
After Crowley lost the elections to Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, the new congresswoman promised to present the project again and after several meetings with her representatives, she still has not done so, said Bramble Caballero, who estimates that some 2,000 Latinos worked on the cleanup. .
Meanwhile, immigrants like the Peruvian Franklin Anchahua, one of those who removed debris from the buildings, are facing lung problems that have reduced their ability to breathe, as well as stomach problems, problems that doctors have certified as clearly linked to work in the called ground zero.
“We continue in the fight, every year the same ridicule,” he told Efe, adding that “I was in good health when I arrived from my country” in New York a year before the attacks.
He recalled that between 2004 and 2005 he began to feel sick with stomach problems and, like other immigrants, he was afraid to go to a hospital because of his immigration status, so his mother sent him herbs that they used in his country.
Finally, in 2011 he went to a hospital, where he has since received medical assistance under the program created for those affected by the attacks of September 11, 2001, but his health does not allow him to work.
Anchahua says he survives on 9/11 victim compensation funds he received four years ago, “but they’re running out.”