Story by Mariah Cowsert, Opinion Intern
Photo courtesy of The Guardian
While fellow Michigan residents and groups have come together to aid in the Flint Water Crisis, there are still families who are falling through the cracks and unable to receive the clean water they need. Residents were being billed for their toxic tap water and now the FBI will be following the EPA in their investigation.
According to ABC News, the “state emergency response officials say about 176,000 cases of water, 93,000 water filters and 29,000 water testing kits have been distributed to residents since January 6” and that, “there’s room for whatever else comes in, according to Michigan State Police Lt. Dave Kaiser: The state has a 150,000 square-foot warehouse and additional buildings to stash supplies”.
While we’re coming together for the good of Flint, undocumented immigrants and their families are unable to receive water due to lack of state identification and the fear of deportation increasing their health risks with the use of contaminated water.
Regardless of being a documented citizen or not, everyone deserves their basic needs to be met. This includes access to clean drinking water.
While some have been able to remain anonymous and receive water filters and care, according to Vice, “most of Flint’s undocumented immigrants—there are at least 1,000, based on estimates from local advocates—have avoided the distribution centers altogether, where they fear they’ll be outed as undocumented.”
Not only are a good number of Flint community members and children unable to receive water, but families were being forced to continue paying for their contaminated water otherwise they could be charged for child neglect which is backwards in their strides in aid to Flint residents. Until February 4, there was no change in the law that required citizens to put money towards unusable water when Governor Snyder requested 30 million dollars to pay for the water.
While passing this bill to aid in payment for toxic water dating all the way back to April 2014 is going to patch up some of the damage done to the city, “the Snyder administration estimates that water for drinking, bathing and cooking constituted about 47 percent of the Flint water bills in question,” and the “$30 million in new state funding would cover 65 percent of those water costs but would not help cover sewer payments.”
The process of gaining approval for this amount of money takes time, but luckily the Senate agreed that the citizens deserved a fast turnaround to be reimbursed for their water payments, as it otherwise might have taken until June to be approved.
According to the Huffington Post, the FBI will be investigating the legality of the Flint Water Crisis alongside the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the EPA’s Office of Inspector General, and the EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division. The most we can do as citizens and college students is to continue to let the voices of Flint residents be heard and share their input, donate water or money to the American Red Cross and other reliable organizations, and keep updated on what’s happening to those only a few hours away from our home.
About the Writer…
Mariah Cowsert is a junior studying Communication with a Theatre Emphasis and English. She has been writing for The Saint since last fall and is excited to continue doing what she loves through her internship with The Saint as Opinion Intern, soon to be Opinion Editor. In her free time she enjoys running, acting and technical theatre involvement, painting, talking in third person for bios, and reading.