ICE Response to Hurricane Gustav Questioned

hurricane%20gustav.jpgRemember this notice put out by ICE telling undocumented workers that it would not round them up during Hurricane Gustav evacuations?

Although it was an important concession from ICE (ICE had been spreading rumors for months previously saying that they would use the opportunity to round people up), many community organizers and immigrant advocates are now saying that the release didn’t go far enough to ensure that the health and life of immigrants would be protected during the storm:

mmigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released a statement saying that it wouldn’t be conducting any immigration enforcement activities in conjunction with Hurricane Gustav evacuation procedures, but many immigrants were either unconvinced or unaware of ICE’s notice. Advocates said there was not enough time to prepare immigrant communities once the DHS press releases were issued. “We didn’t have enough people to go into the neighborhoods where we know Latinos are living,” Lucas Diaz told the Agence France-Presse.

At this point, I wonder how much work will have to be done in order to convince those who are undocumented that they have a human right to evacuate an area during a natural disaster without fearing imprisonment. Once the seed of fear and distrust is planted, it’s often near impossible to “unplant” it–and for some reason, I have a sneaky suspicion that ICE knew that when it released it’s statement.

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