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Officials: No immigration enforcement at Harvey relief sites

Officials have said ICE and CBP won’t conduct immigration enforcement at relief sites like food banks and shelters


By PoliceOne Staff

HOUSTON - Undocumented immigrants seeking relief and shelter from Hurricane Harvey won’t be arrested or have to show ID, officials said.

FEMA, ICE and the city of Houston have all confirmed that immigration enforcement is not their main priority during Hurricane Harvey. They want to make sure people stay safe.

People line up for food as others rest at the George R. Brown Convention Center that has been set up as a shelter for evacuees escaping the floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey in Houston, Texas, Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
People line up for food as others rest at the George R. Brown Convention Center that has been set up as a shelter for evacuees escaping the floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey in Houston, Texas, Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

In a statement, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protection said their highest priorities are “to promote life-saving and life-sustaining activities, the safe evacuation of people who are leaving the impacted area, the maintenance of public order, the prevention of the loss of property to the extent possible and the speedy recovery of the region.”

Under the “rumor control” tab on their website, FEMA wrote that ICE and CBP agents will not be conducting immigration enforcement at relief sites like shelters and food banks. However, if local law enforcement informs ICE of an undocumented immigrant at a relief site that “presents a public safety threat, ICE will make a determination on a case-by-case basis about the appropriate enforcement actions.”

Additionally, the city of Houston said in a tweet that they “will not ask for immigration status or papers from anyone at any shelter.” Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner told ABC News that he would represent any immigrant facing deportation after seeking relief from the storm. 

“If you are in a stressful situation, I don’t care who you are, I don’t care what you’re religion is, I don’t care what your language is, you come and take advantage of every service that we have,” Turner said.

 

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