October 26, 2021

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20 Years Later, Undocumented Immigrants Who Aided 9/11 Recovery & Cleanup Efforts Demand Recognition

2 min read

Following the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, advocates are calling for lawmakers to establish a pathway for legal residency for as many as 2,000 immigrant responders and cleanup workers at ground zero. An estimated 6,000 undocumented immigrants took part in the recovery efforts after 9/11, but many didn’t seek medical help or went uncounted for their symptoms because they feared deportation. Undocumented workers exposed themselves to toxins and “sacrificed their lives” to assist with the cleanup, and, 20 years later, still lack recognition and medical aid, says Rosa Maria Bramble Caballero, a licensed clinical social worker who has helped immigrant 9/11 workers for 15 years. A path to citizenship would “not only acknowledge their work, but also help them have other options of other types of work,” Caballero says. “We have not really honored them as we should.”

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