Migrants Vulnerable As Gustav Forces New Orleans Evacuation

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Like a recurring nightmare of Hurricane Katrina, a powerful Hurricane Gustav is expected to hit the gulf coast on Monday.  Reuters has a list of possible scenarios, none of which look very good. 

Thankfully, it looks as if the local, state, and federal agencies are doing everything they can to make sure this is not a repeat of Katrina.  We need to give credit where credit is due, and it looks as if President Bush is taking the right steps to confront this potential disaster head on.  The Republican National Convention will likely be delayed or shortened, according to the New York Times.  This is another development I welcome.  Humanity has been put before politics.

Still early reports already suggest that there is at least one set of people that is being forgotten as the hurricane approaches.  There is a huge unauthorized migrant population in the Gulf Coast region.

They were brought in to repair the damage caused by Katrina.  Judging from this snippet of an Associated Press article, it's not looking good (sombrero tip ot the 'Just News' Blog).

Advocates have criticized the decision not to establish a shelter, warning that day laborers and the poorest residents will still fall through the cracks. As lines at bus stations kept building, about two dozen Hispanic men talked under oak trees near Claiborne Avenue, where on better days they would be waiting to be picked up for day labor.

They'd been listening to Spanish radio and television but none of them knew what to do and were waiting for someone to come by and tell them, said Pictor Soto, 44, of Peru. Told they could take a bus at Union Passenger Terminal, they all shook their heads, fearful that immigration agents would be looking for them. "The problem is, there will be immigration people there and we're all undocumented," Soto said.
Becky Bohrer - Associated Press (31 August 2008)
I have yet to find any extremely troubling reports like those that came out of Southern California as the wildfires burned in October of 2007.  Farmers asked migrants to work through the fires while others evacuated in their "Mercedeses and Jaguars".  The majority of those that died (4 of 7) were migrants.  Migrants were also left out of the relief efforts forcing the government of Mexico to step in.  The post I wrote about the disaster reads like fiction.

While there have not been any reports from the Gulf Coast to suggest neglect such as this, the climate of fear that migrants live in is going to make them extremely vulnerable.  Just last week ICE carried out its largest raid yet not far from New Orleans in Laurel, Mississippi. 

These raids President Bush is at fault for.  If unauthorized migrants die because they stay behind in fear of ICE, it's going to be on the federal government's conscience.  ICE has put out statements urging migrants to evacuate, but this does not make up for the climate of fear ICE has forced migrants to live in, exemplified in the statements above. 

I hope others will join me in praying for the residents of the Gulf Coast tonight.  I will write more as events develop and ways to do something about this emerge.  Until then see this call for help in the wake of the Mississippi raid. 

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UPDATES BELOWPicture: Ariana Cubillos / AP PhotoThank God.  It looks as if our prayers for the Gulf Coast came through.  But we forgot to pray for the Caribbean.(For those of you that can't read all the way through this post,... Read More

I knew unauthorized migrants were going to get left behind in Gustav.  I wrote about it here.  Despite assurances from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), migrants have been forced to live in such a climate of fear that they wouldn't... Read More

7 Comments

PL said:

I am taking a break from studying to comment here.

I was wishing on Wednesday this past week for the hurricane to come down on the RNC ... (Yea I know I am bad) but it was such a single-minded thought that I didn't even consider that the wistful thinking would wreck havoc on so many migrant lives. I think part of the resentment is also due to the fact that some haters have been predicting a Sodom and Gomorrah in California post our same-sex marriage in victory and well to see the Deep South battling hurricane would have been ... but the thought is no longer funny when considering the loss of lives--innocent lives--involved.

I am sure our 'friends' at Alicrap and so on are gloating about the potential lost lives right now and I don't dare look since it would be sickening.

I did want to share that I come from a country in the tropics that has an April-Nov hurricane season and have been caught in quite a few bad ones as a kid. But even in the poor, underdeveloped country in the South Pacific, I never had to 'live in fear' of my life during such an episode or be more afraid to be caught by authorities than by the hurricane. It's disgusting that the United States has created such a climate of fear for migrants--people who work hard and contribute to the economy.

I can only hope and pray that everyone is safe and gets the help s/he needs.

Thanks for the post Kyle.

kyledeb Author Profile Page said:

I hate when I have dark thoughts like that. I guess it's even worse for me. I didn't even know Gustav was a threat until today. I can only pray everything turns out alright and do what I can in the aftermath.

Alexa said:

gracias, Kyle.

I'm praying, too.

ineelb4no1 said:

We're all praying for ALL the people in the path of this storm.
But I do have a question. If an illegal immigrant can walk, run, swim, crawl etc. all the way from Mexico to Louisiana, why is it they can't find their way out from under an oak tree near Claiborne Avenue, to another area of Louisiana? If they feared so much of being caught by immigration officials or caught in the middle of a hurricane, wouldn't they have already left, especially with all the pre warnings?

kyledeb Author Profile Page said:

Dear ineelb4no1,

Though Citizen Orange is a pro-migrant space, I try to be as welcoming, respectful, and tolerant of other viewpoints as I can be. It's a little difficult to do so when there are anti-migrant activists whose sole job it is to post anti-migrant comments over the web.

For instance, you yourself have posted here under two other different names all in support of an extremely anti-migrant organization, ALIPAC. I will still consider publishing your comments here if you are interested in working towards real solutions. Solutions that don't include deporting millions of migrants, or making migrants so miserable that they leave on their own.

I would also appreciate it if you could tell us a little bit about yourself, since it is by getting to know each other personally that we can overcome prejudice. I don't believe your interested in any of the above though since you can even post under one name. You're the type of person that thrives under the anonymity of the internet to spread hate and misinformation.

If it is too difficult for you to understand why a migrant would be afraid of evacuating the Gulf Coast (it could lead to detention and deportation which for many migrants means death), I don't expect you to try and understand where I'm coming from, or be capable of framing your thoughts in a way that would be respectful to me and the other members of the Citizen Orange community.

Michael said:

Hi Kyledeb,

You have a good eye catching a bad fish. I traced Ineelb4no1 and he has been banned and flagged from various sites from his nonsense, Irrespectful and intolerance comments plus he has been advocated the Extremists and Anti Immigrant Organizations. Like your mentioned above.

kyledeb Author Profile Page said:

Great job looking this up Michael,

Since ineelb4no1 posted here under several different names I didn't think to look around, but it seems that even under one of this persons many names he or she has caused trouble. Always good to have people like yourself balancing out all the hatred. Thanks for commenting.

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This page contains a single entry by kyledeb published on August 31, 2008 3:39 PM.

A Call For Help was the previous entry in this blog.

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