Immigration Law

Fire Fear for Illegal Residents: Deportation

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As residents throughout many areas of Southern California worry about potential damage from the wildfires that have been burning for the past week, illegal immigrants have had a particular cause for concern.

Although authorities say they are not using emergency shelters as an opportunity to check the residency status of those who seek beds there, some question this—or, at the very least, wonder why more sensitivity wasn’t shown to the issue of addressing concerns of illegal residents, reports the Los Angeles Times. The presence of border patrol agents at emergency shelters, for instance, predictably has led to the perception that they may well enforce immigration laws.

Yet Lauren Mack, a spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, contends that isn’t so. “We are not arresting fire evacuees. It’s absolutely ludicrous to suggest otherwise,” she says.

On the other hand, immigrant rights groups and the American Civil Liberties union argue that the issue could have been better handled. For example, asking for identification naturally causes concern, the newspaper points out.

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