There is a rumor going around that undocumented immigrants will be checked at storm shelters and relief shelters, but that myth has been debunked.
Both Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo have confirmed that people seeking shelter from Tropical Storm Harvey will not be asked for their immigration status, religion or language spoken.
The SB4 "show me your papers" law, which doesn't take effect officially until Sept. 1, and deportations will be put on hold as Harvey bears down on Texas and threatens lives.
What that means is no one should avoid seeking safety for themselves or their family out of fear of being deported or being questioned about legal status. Make sure to get help because the situation is supposed to get worse before it gets better.
The Houston Police Department is asking those in need of assistance to call 911 for life-threatening emergencies, and to use 311 or the department's non-emergency number, 713-884-3131, when appropriate.
What Is Happening?
So far, more than 5,500 people have sought protection at Houston's convention center and other shelters, and more than 2,000 people trapped by the floodwaters have been rescued by police. Mayor Sylvester said the number of people needing refuge is expected to increase exponentially by the end of the day today.
A FEMA spokesperson said that more than 30,000 people could need shelter as the flooding gets worse and rain continues to fall, USA Today reported. It is expected to rain for days, and more than 30 inches of rain has already fallen in some areas throughout Houston.
If you know anyone who is scared to go to a shelter or ask for emergency assistance because they are in the country illegally, assure them that the authorities are not using this disaster to enforce harsh immigration laws. The top priority right now is assigning anyone and everyone in need.