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Local Orgs Help Undocumented Residents Evacuate as Hurricane Florence Approaches

Siembra members do disaster response in Greensboro following a tornado in April. Photo: / AFSC


Local Orgs Help Undocumented Residents Evacuate as Hurricane Florence Approaches

Trump Administration Diverted FEMA Funds to ICE Detention

GREENSBORO, NC (September 9, 2018) In North Carolina, residents are bracing for the impacts of Hurricane Florence, with many evacuating their homes and heading for safer ground. As Immigration and Customs Enforcement has stepped up their attacks on immigrant communities, many are afraid to turn to local officials for help.

The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) – a Quaker organization that works for just and humane immigration policies in North Carolina and across the country – is one of many organizations that has stepped in to help the region’s undocumented residents get to safety. Staff have fielded phone calls from across the state from immigrants afraid to leave their homes and are working to identify churches and homes willing to house immigrants who are uneasy about resorting to government sponsored shelters.

“We’ve been out in the community all day, trying to help people find open shelters in Alamance County to evacuate to, making sure everyone has access to supplies, and beginning to organize community members willing to participate in recovery and clean up post hurricane impact,” said Laura Garduño Garcia, an organizer with AFSC’s Greensboro office. “Alamance is the same county where ICE could potentially expand their operations by implementing a 287(g) agreement, which means people are already wary of turning to county officials for support.” The county has also failed to distribute information in Spanish, so the efforts of community groups are critically important for making sure people are informed about how to stay safe.

The hurricane is slated to hit just days after the news broke that the Trump Administration diverted $10 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to fund detention and deportation. This is happening at the same time as ICE is seeking dramatic funding increases through the appropriations process.

“It is absolutely outrageous that money that is supposed to help people stay safe during a hurricane is instead being diverted to an agency that tears apart families and destabilizes communities,” said Kathryn Johnson, AFSC’s Policy Advocacy Coordinator. “We are calling on Congress to stop funding ICE and to instead make sure that communities have the resources they need to protect all their residents, during this hurricane and beyond.”

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The American Friends Service Committee is a Quaker organization that promotes lasting peace with justice, as a practical expression of faith in action. Drawing on continuing spiritual insights and working with people of many backgrounds, we nurture the seeds of change and respect for human life that transform social systems.



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