Gov. Abbott Says Border Patrol Won't "Hamper Evacuation Efforts"

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Gov. Abbott updates reporters on Hurricane Harvey in Austin Friday. - TEXAS TRIBUNE, SCREENSHOT VIA FACEBOOK LIVE
  • Texas Tribune, screenshot via Facebook live
  • Gov. Abbott updates reporters on Hurricane Harvey in Austin Friday.
In a Friday press conference, Gov. Greg Abbott guaranteed that undocumented immigrants fleeing Hurricane Harvey won't be asked to show their ID to enter state emergency shelters.

"The most important thing we're dealing with right now is human life," Abbott told reporters.

He also debunked rumors that U.S. Border Patrol is trying to arrest immigrants (or, "hamper evacuation efforts") trying to flee to higher ground before or during the storm. Steven McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, added that the regular immigration checkpoints for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in South Texas will be paused until the storm passes.

In an earlier press release, ICE said these checkpoints would close as highways close, and that their agents would not conduct immigration enforcement operations at hurricane evacuation sites, emergency shelters or food banks. However, the agency added, "The laws will not be suspended, and we will be vigilant against any effort by criminals to exploit disruptions caused by the storm."

ICE said it is in the process of moving immigrant detainees from the Port Isabel detention center to various other detention facilities out of Harvey's path.

"We're putting life first, property second," Abbott said. He will head to San Antonio Friday afternoon to visit the emergency shelters set up for evacuees.


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