Authorities on Friday sought to reassure undocumented immigrants seeking shelter during the storm.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said people would not need to show identification in order to access shelters.
“That will not be an issue,” Abbott said during an interview on MSNBC, saying this was his understanding based on instructions from U.S. Customs and Border Protection. “What everyone is focused on right now is doing all we can to protect life.”
Federal officials also sought to dispel concerns that could potentially keep people from going to shelters. In a joint statement, the Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agencies said they did not plan to conduct any “non-criminal” immigration actions at places where people might seek shelter.
“Routine non-criminal immigration enforcement operations will not be conducted at evacuation sites, or assistance centers such as shelters or food banks,” the agencies said in a joint statement. “The laws will not be suspended, and we will be vigilant against any effort by criminals to exploit disruptions caused by the storm.”
The agencies said their “highest priorities are to promote life-saving and life-sustaining activities” as well as to help people evacuate and recover.
In addition, Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainees held in Port Isabel Detention Center — a facility in Los Fresnos, Tex., not far from the Gulf of Mexico — would be temporarily moved to other facilities away from the storm’s projected path.