Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner (D) said Monday that he will represent any immigrant who faces deportation after seeking help during Tropical Storm Harvey.
During a press conference, Turner said “there is absolutely no reason” why any individual shouldn't call for help.
“I and others will be the first ones to stand up with you,” said Turner. “If you need help and someone comes and they require help, and then for some reason, then somebody tries to deport them, I will represent them myself, okay?”
Turner said all individuals affected by the storm should take advantage of the services offered to them.
“If you are in a stressful situation, I don’t care who you are, I don’t care what you’re religion is, I don’t care what your language is, you come and take advantage of every service that we have,” he said.
“If you’re in a stressful situation and you need help, you call us for help. We want you to call. There is absolutely no reason why anyone should not call okay?”
U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said last week that saving lives would be the agencies' “highest priorities."
“Routine noncriminal immigration enforcement operations will not be conducted at evacuation sites, or assistance centers such as shelters or food banks,” the agencies said. “The laws will not be suspended, and we will be vigilant against any effort by criminals to exploit disruptions caused by the storm.”
During the same press conference, Turner also defended his choice not to put in place an evacuation order, citing the millions of people in his city.
The storm, which first made landfall Friday as a Category 4 hurricane, is responsible for at least eight deaths.