As flames streamed into their neighbor’s backyard, Vivienda’s wife had just enough time to toss the children’s U.S. birth certificates and other important documents into a bag; Agustin grabbed the family’s two Chihuahuas.
While the family fled to the nearby town of Windsor, the rental they had just moved into—at $1,850 per month, a bargain in pricey Sonoma County—burned to the ground.
“Even though I would like my own place to live, this is my main priority so I can go back to work full-time.”
Sonoma County’s economy is built on industries that depend on immigrant labor.
In response, a few short days after the fires began, a coalition of concerned organizations launched UndocuFund, a relief effort specifically for undocumented residents.
“The vineyards won’t get replanted until spring, after the ground thaws and they can put new plants in,” says Christy Lubin, director of the Graton Day Labor Center, which provides access to training, education, health care, and legal resources for Sonoma County’s immigrant workforce.