The American Red Cross, as a member of the global Red Cross and Red Crescent network, adheres to the network’s fundamental principles. Specifically, the principal of impartiality states: “It makes no discrimination as to nationality, race, religious beliefs, class or political opinions. It endeavors to relieve the suffering of individuals, being guided solely by their needs, and to give priority to the most urgent cases of distress.”
During a crisis, people need help to stay safe, no matter their nationality, cultural background or citizenship status. When an emergency strikes, the Red Cross will deliver help to whomever needs it. As part of its humanitarian mission, the American Red Cross will feed, shelter, provide emotional support and other assistance without regard to race, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation or citizenship status. The Red Cross is a charity, not a government agency, and individuals who have disaster-caused needs do not need to be American citizens to access our services.
Red Cross workers will not question individuals about their citizenship status, nor will they request birth certificates, immigration papers, passports, social security cards or similar documents that could be interpreted as being used to identify the nationality or immigration status of people seeking assistance. The Red Cross will only request documents to verify an individual’s identity and where they lived before a disaster when providing financial assistance.
If federal, state or local authorities make a request to enter a shelter for the purpose of looking for undocumented shelter residents, the Red Cross will not grant them permission unless provided with a subpoena or court order. The Red Cross may disclose information about shelter residents at the request of law enforcement, if the disclosure is necessary to avert a threat, or protect the health or safety of shelter occupants, another person or the community.
Just as disasters don’t discriminate in terms of whose lives they destroy; the Red Cross doesn’t discriminate in whose lives we help rebuild. The Red Cross is a safe and secure place for everyone in need after a disaster.