Undocumented Woman, Family Contracts COVID-19; Afraid to Ask For Help

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An Escondido mother says she is living a nightmare now that her entire family is sick with the coronavirus. 

Ivon Bazan said her 32-year-old husband was the first in the family to develop symptoms. Soon after she began feeling sick, then her 2-year-old baby developed a fever, and just like that her two other kids, ages 11 and 20, fell victim to the coronavirus.

COVID-19 has ravaged the family both physically and financially. Bazan said she's been unemployed since last May when her job at a movie theater came to an end. And due to his disabilities, her husband is also unemployed. The family relied on occasional food sales Bazan did over Facebook. 

Bazan said she feels desperate as her bills begin to pile up. The family is ineligible for any federal aid, and Bazan, like many immigrants living in the shadows, said she is afraid to ask for help. 

“These stories are unfortunately all too common in our county,” said Erin Tsurumoto Grassi, regional policy director at Alliance San Diego.

Another challenge for the family is the U.S. government's public charge rule that went into effect last February.

“Public charge is a determination made by the federal government about whether or not you're likely to be dependent on government assistance," said Tsurumoto Grassi. "That can be used to determine whether or not you're eligible to get a green card."

Bazan said that's one of the reasons she's avoided asking for any sort of assistance.

But there are other was to get help, according to Tsurumoto Grassi.

“The fear is real and I don't want to minimize that but there is help out there for folks and there are trusted agencies like Alliance San Diego that can help,” said Tsurumoto Grassi.

Help that could be the lifeline the Bazan family says they desperately need.

Alliance San Diego is a community group that helps connect people in need with resources available in the community.

Editor's note: This story previously stated that the husband was undocumented but it has been confirmed that he is a U.S. citizen.

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