‘We were already so scared’: Houston immigrants fear accessing emergency help during Harvey

[ Originally published on this site as post ]

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Despite reassurances from Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner that undocumented Texans seeking shelter and assistance during Hurricane Harvey should not being asked about their legal status, Univision reports some undocumented immigrant families in northeastern Houston remain too afraid of federal immigrant agents to venture outside for help. Among them are a mom and child who fled gang violence, and a pregnant woman trapped by her lack of documentation:

In Lisette’s house, on the ground floor, water flooded up to two feet high. The family remains without electricity and are cooking chicken wings on a portable grill inside the small room that acts at once as a lounge, kitchen and dining area. Much of the smoke hovers in the damp house.

Lisette is seven months pregnant. Although she thought about looking for a shelter, she ruled it out because of her lack of papers.

“On Facebook, they say that happened. Somebody was looking for shelter and ICE took advantage to make raids and deport people,” explains the Honduran. 

In response to public outcry earlier this week, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) released a statement saying they would not conduct immigration checks at evacuation centers and other Harvey-related rescue efforts, but refused to shut down immigration checkpoints. And this, combined with Donald Trump’s immoral mass deportation force, is what has many in the community scared.