Undocumented immigrants are not only financially active in this country, they also help to make up the rich fabric of our society.

Undocumented immigrants are not only financially active in this country, they also help to make up the rich fabric of our society.

Many pay taxes while also sending remittances back to their home countries and supporting their families here.

Undocumented immigrants can also be business owners and job providers. Many work two or three jobs.

But many undocumented immigrants don’t have accounts in banks or credit unions due in large part to misinformation, including the belief they don’t have enough savings to meet the minimum balance required, or that they are not eligible because they lack formal employment and legal immigration status.

In the U.S., undocumented immigrants do have financial rights and can have access to the formal financial system. Lacking legal immigration status does not come in the way of you opening a bank account, obtaining credit or even starting a business.

Currently, undocumented immigrants can open a bank or credit union account using a variety of different forms of identification, and can also become business owners.

In fact, anyone who has an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, or ITIN, can file taxes using this identification instead of a Social Security number (SSN).

It’s also possible to open an account using a variety of different IDs, such as consular identification card, unexpired passport or the easily attainable IDNYC card.

But given the current political climate, undocumented immigrants are asking themselves important questions: Will I lose my money if I get deported? Should I close my account? Could I have access from my home country? If I own a business, what should I do with my assets?

No matter which institution you choose, all of your money will be insured by federal regulations.

Money that is kept in banks and credit unions is safe and will remain yours regardless of any immigration process you go through. Closing your account and carrying cash is risky.

There are many ways to access your accounts remotely. However, it is necessary to plan ahead and learn how you can access your money from other countries. Talk to your bank or reach out to community organizations for help.

It is important to note that just as your money will continue to be your money if you are deported, your debt will also remain your responsibility as well.

It is also important to continue saving money since facing any immigration proceeding will likely be expensive.

Take action and start preparing an emergency action plan so you can be ready in the unfortunate event that you might have to go through an unexpected immigration proceeding. There is no better time than now.

Qualitas of Life Foundation is a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide basic financial education to Hispanic individuals and their families living in New York. For more information, go to qualitasoflife.org