NEW YORK (N.Y. Times) — The families of the undocumented aliens who toiled as busboys, delivery men, cleaners, maintenance men and in other low-paid jobs in the World Trade Center's vast city within a city are too frightened to report that their loved ones are gone.
As city officials tally those missing from the devastating Sept. 11 terrorist attack, it is unlikely that the final figure will ever include all those who were in this country illegally. Fear of immigration officials is the biggest reason. Illiteracy and fear of retribution in the shadowy underworld of people trafficking are also factors, specialists say.
"I'm scared to report that my husband is missing," said Luz Maria Mendoza, whose husband worked illegally in a restaurant in the World Trade Center.
To convince relatives like Mendoza to step forward, Immigration and Naturalization Commissioner James Ziglar announced his agency will not seek immigration information from local agencies working with relatives of those lost when the World Trade Center towers collapsed. "I want to personally urge the immigrant community to come forward," he said.