I blogged on this subject earlier this summer and am pleased my friend Elliot Ozment has made some good progress on this issue.
USCIS has issued its standard closure notices regarding locations in areas withing the projected path of the storm.
DHS is not saying anything, of course, about the 600 immigrants just arrested last week in Laurel, Mississippi who are now being detained in Gena, Louisiana and how the storm will affect their proceedings and detention.
There will be no shelters in New Orleans this time. Mayor Nagin has ordered the city completely evacuated as Hurricane Gustav approaches. The AP is reporting disturbing news that many immigrants are avoiding evacuation buses because of a fear of being arrested by ICE officers.
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.
ICE now is telling immigrants they won't conduct enforcement operations during evacuations. Shouldn't they have announced this two or three days ago when people still had a chance to flee?
Greg Siskind is a partner in Siskind Susser's Memphis, Tennessee, office. After graduating magna cum laude from Vanderbilt University, he received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Chicago. Mr. Siskind is a member of AILA, a board member of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, and a member of the ABA, where he serves on the LPM Publishing Board as Marketing Vice Chairman. He is the author of several books, including the J Visa Guidebook and The Lawyer's Guide to Marketing on the Internet. Mr. Siskind practices all areas of immigration law, specializing in immigration matters of the health care and technology industries. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org