Undocumented immigrants late to know about lead in water, scared to get help

Ian Pajer-Rogers |

From ABC-12 WJRT:

by Natalie Zarowny

There are estimates that a group of people in Flint are not getting the supplies they need during this water emergency.

Perhaps as many as 1,000 are not going to water distribution centers, they're not calling 211 and they're not getting deliveries. It's because they're scared.

These people are undocumented immigrants living in Flint, mostly on the city's east side.

It's hard to imagine, but many of them weren't even aware of lead in Flint's water until a couple weeks ago.

"One day I turned on the faucet and the water started coming out yellow,” said Lucia.

Lucia has been living in Flint for more than a decade. She left Mexico 23 years ago. We're not using the single mother's face or name, because she's undocumented.

"I’m not here legally. And I’m always scared that they'll arrest me, and then deport me," she said.

Lucia heard about lead in Flint's water four months ago from her son. Since then, she's been buying bottled water - and she won't get close to a distribution center after a recent experience.

"I got close to see what they were giving out, and it was water. And the first thing they asked me for was my license," she said.

Some local groups have been quietly going around the east side trying to distribute water, but the problem is a lot of these undocumented immigrants are scared - and they won't even open the door for them.

Read the full article from ABC-12 WJRT.