Illegals in the path of Hurricane Ike
Filed Under: US | Posted: 09/10/2008 at 1:38PM
Comments | Region: Texas | United States
Hurricane Ike is bearing down on the Gulf of Mexico, forcing Texas emergency officials in areas near the Mexican border to consider evacuating a million people. But many illegals, afraid of the evacuation process, are staying put.
A thousand buses are waiting to move people who cannot drive away. But even though federal authorities promise not to check one’s immigration status, many fear they will be intercepted at checkpoints and deported.
"People are nervous," said Michael Seifert, a Roman Catholic priest and immigrant advocate. "The message that was given to me was that it’s going to be a real problem."
This is not a storm to be trifled with. Ike huffed and puffed its way through Cuba where it killed four and forced more than a million people to flee its fury. In Haiti, it killed at least 74. It is expected to come ashore in the US on Saturday, most likely close to Corpus Christi, near the state’s southern border.
People living on an extreme economic borderline are least able to weather any storm, let alone one of the possible magnitude of Ike. Many here live below the poverty line, subsisting in ramshackle housing. The streets are not paved and sewer lines do not exist. When it rains, sewage floods yards and streets with disease-ridden sewage. So, even if their homes survive the storm’s onslaught, people will still be in a dangerous situation.