In advance of Hurricane Irma striking Southern Florida, the Miami-Dade mayor makes a pivotally important announcement — steering all Americans to make the best use of hurricane shelters and providing much needed assurance at this time of need.
The mayor, Carlos Gimenez, confirmed in a briefing late Wednesday night that no shelter-seekers will be asked for identification, nor will any questions be asked about immigration status. This important piece of information comes following the news that many undocumented immigrants impacted by Hurricane Harvey avoided public shelters for fear of repercussions like deportation. In the aftermath of Harvey, federal agents repeatedly stating that they would not be arresting, detaining or deporting individuals as a part of their work assisting in recovery efforts. The fact that undocumented individuals still felt so unsafe and so unwilling to be detained and deported that they would avoid shelters, despite promises from the government, flooding and a hurricane — is extremely telling.
Hopefully this news from the Miami-Dade mayor assists undocumented individuals in seeking assistance following Irma, should they need it. Specifically, he said:
‘We don’t ask anybody for their identification… Everybody who needs shelter in Miami-Dade County is welcome, and you should do so without any fear of any repercussions.’
Further aggravating this problem is the fact that evacuation has been mandated. For the first time in 12 years, all homes which were deemed at a high to moderate risk of being impacted, must be evacuated. A large part of the purpose behind the mayor’s messaging is a concern over whether or not undocumented immigrants will comply with evacuation orders — which of course, are absolutely imperative for their safety.
Indeed, following Hurricane Irma, the Department of Homeland Security will be present to assist again, but following the pressures of Republican Senator Rubio, they too confirmed that:
‘[We] will not conduct non-criminal immigration enforcement operations in the affected area.’
It’s so extremely unfortunate that the relationship between the government and undocumented immigrants has become so hostile and mistrusting that this ever needed to be said. Even more concerning is the very real potential that these individuals may still avoid public shelters and seeking the assistance they need, due to a lack of trust that the word of this government is worth anything at all.
Based on President Trump’s track record, no one could even blame them.
Feature Image via Getty Images.