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Mayor Promises to Represent Immigrants Facing Deportation for Seeking Harvey Help

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Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, a Democrat, said Monday that he’d represent undocumented immigrants who got in trouble for seeking help in the wake of Tropical Storm Harvey.

Turner got his law degree from Harvard.

There has been concern that undocumented immigrants might be reluctant to get help in the wake of Harvey. The American Civil Liberties Union blasted U.S. Customs and Border Protection on Friday for refusing to close checkpoints until state highways closed.

“As people seek refuge from hurricane Harvey, they are likely to have to go north or west of Texas and would have to go through a checkpoint,” said Lorella Praeli, the ACLU’s director of immigration policy and campaigns. “By keeping checkpoints open, the Border Patrol is putting undocumented people and mixed-status families at risk out of fear of deportations.”

That same day, CPS issued a joint-statement with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, promising to soften their approach.

“Routine non-criminal immigration enforcement operations will not be conducted at evacuation sites, or assistance centers such as shelters or food banks,” they said. “The laws will not be suspended, and we will be vigilant against any effort by criminals to exploit disruptions caused by the storm.”

The storm comes as Texas’ approach to immigration becomes more intense. Senate Bill 4 will go into effect on Friday, pending the result of an ACLU demand for a preliminary injunction. The new law, signed in May by Republican Governor Greg Abbott, allows local law enforcement to ask about the immigrant status of anyone they’ve lawfully detained. Officials who don’t cooperate with federal authorities risk getting jail time and fines.

[Screengrab via KPRC]

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