Tags: greg abbott | illegal immigrants | fleeing | hurricane harvey | help | ID

Abbott: Illegals Fleeing Harvey Will Be Helped, Even Without ID


By    |   Friday, 25 August 2017 02:09 PM

Texas' undocumented immigrants in the path of Hurricane Harvey will be accepted at evacuation centers and will not be required to show identification before being helped, Gov. Greg Abbott said Friday.

"It's my understanding from what I saw from the Border Patrol instructions yesterday, that will not be a problem," Abbott told MSNBC. "What everyone is focused on right now is ensuring we do all we can to protect life. We have a high regard for life. We want to insure the safety of all lives. We're prepared to take all measures to do so."

However, the Border Patrol has come under fire after announcing in a statement that it does not plan to close its immigration checkpoints north of the Rio Grande Valley unless the storm poses danger to travelers or patrol agents.

"Border Patrol resources, including personnel and transportation, will be deployed on an as-needed basis to augment the efforts and capabilities of local response authorities," the agency said in a statement, reports The Texas Tribune. "The Border Patrol is a law enforcement agency and we will not abandon our law enforcement duties."

CBP public affairs officer Roberto Rodriguez, when asked to clarify the statement, told The Tribune that officers will prioritize public safety, but also plans to follow its own rules.

The American Civil Liberties Union in Texas strongly criticized the Border Patrol's plans.

"Safety should be a priority regardless of immigration status," said ACLU policy strategist Astrid Dominguez. "This is very concerning for the community. It sends a wrong message."

Many lives have been lost in past hurricanes when people do not have the resources to relocate before a storm, and as locations along the coast are preparing for a 12-foot storm surge, Abbott and other officials on Friday were urging residents to heed evacuation orders.

"One of the most important things we can and have done is to prepare for water rescue missions," the governor said. "We have multiple teams, whether it be through the 700 state and National Guard that we've activated, whether it be what's called Texas Task Force One or Two, or working with FEMA, we have multiple water rescue teams south of Corpus Christi up to the Houston area to make sure that we will be able to be in the process of saving lives, which is the most important thing we can do."

In addition, he said, there are multiple buses leaving areas such as Corpus Christi, taking people to places such as San Antonio or Austin, and people fleeing the storm will not need to worry about the cost.

"You have other people who will be taking care of you," said Abbott. "You need to find a pathway out. If you're looking for that pathway, contact your local emergency management director, that should be easy to find. If nothing else, call your local police department and they can put you in touch with them. Take haste and use all speed to try to find a pathway out of this storm."

A cone at the southern end of the storm will hit Brownsville and the Mexican border, including the Rio Grande, and Abbott said Texas is coordinating with Mexican officials concerning the danger. The state also is coordinating with officials and the Border Patrol up and down the Rio Grande Valley, up to north and northeast of the Houston area.

"This is going to be a massive storm that will have ripple effects up and down the Texas coastline, so this is going to be broad-based coordination by officials at all levels," said Abbott.

The governor also said the oil companies also are ready for the storm, as they are experienced in dealing with hurricanes.

"They get prepared in advance and make sure that they will minimize both the potential damage, but also expedite the process of getting the refineries back up and running," said Abbott. "If there's anybody I have confidence in, it's those refineries because they know how to operate this. They will get it back online as quickly as possible."

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Texas' undocumented immigrants in the path of Hurricane Harvey will be accepted at evacuation centers and will not be required to show identification before being helped, Gov. Greg Abbott said Friday.
greg abbott, illegal immigrants, fleeing, hurricane harvey, help, ID
Friday, 25 August 2017 02:09 PM
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