Some undocumented immigrants didn't evacuate during hurricane to avoid risk of deportation: report

Some undocumented immigrants didn't evacuate during hurricane to avoid risk of deportation: report
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Some undocumented immigrants in North Carolina say they did not evacuate as the state was battered recently by Hurricane Florence because they feared that they could be deported.

BuzzFeed News spoke with a number of documented and undocumented immigrants, as well as immigration advocates and volunteers, who said that the Trump administration’s crackdown on immigration made many immigrants feel as though they had to ride out the storm and subsequent flooding at home.

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The Department of Homeland Security had notified residents that immigration agents would not conduct enforcement during evacuation or at shelters, but BuzzFeed News found that many undocumented immigrants said the risk of deportation was too great.

Volunteers with the Episcopal Farmworkers Ministry told BuzzFeed that two weeks after the hurricane, they are delivering food and supplies to over 50 worker camps and immigrant homes across the state because many ran low on supplies during the storm.

The Hill has reached out to DHS for comment.

Pilar Rocha-Goldberg, president of North Carolina Latino assistance group El Centro Hispano, told the news outlet that many undocumented immigrants were “scared” by the increased presence of federal officials in the area because of the hurricane.

She added that the Trump administration has “not been friendly” to the state’s Latinos, who make up about 10 percent of North Carolina residents.

"The last year and a half have complicated things with the new president," Rocha-Goldberg said.

According to BuzzFeed, North Carolina lawmakers have targeted undocumented immigrants with laws cracking down on identification and immigration status.

Buzzfeed reports that many local police departments have tried to work with their immigrant communities.

One undocumented woman, who spoke to BuzzFeed News on the condition of anonymity, said that she and her housemate rode out Florence in a partially-flooded house because she did not want to encounter law enforcement.

"As long as I stay in this county, I'm OK," she said.

The BuzzFeed News report is the latest example of undocumented immigrant populations pointing to a climate of fear under the Trump administration.

A top Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) official testified recently that ICE officers have arrested dozens of individuals who came forward to sponsor migrant children on the basis of their immigration status.