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Miami County Officials Tell Undocumented Immigrants They Won’t Check IDs at Hurricane Shelters

Miami-Dade County is making sure that everyone unable to evacuate knows they can seek safety at one of several hurricane shelters.

During Hurricane Harvey, there were reports of undocumented immigrants staying home for fear of being deported. To ensure that those living in the Miami area don’t do the same, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Giménez announced in a briefing that no one will be asked for identification when entering a shelter. He said that, “Everybody who needs shelter in Miami-Dade County is welcome, and you should do so without any fear of any repercussions.”

With approximately 55,000 undocumented immigrants living in Miami, the announcement is particularly important. Senator Marco Rubio also pressed the Department of Homeland Security to explain its role before the hurricane hit Florida. According to the Miami Herald, DHS said it “will not conduct non-criminal immigration enforcement operations in the affected area,” but personnel would be deployed to help in the aftermath of the storm.

Meanwhile, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office took a different approach. The Sheriff warned on Twitter that law enforcement officials would be checking IDs at every shelter to “turn away sexual predators.” He continued that “if you have a warrant, turn yourself into [sic.] the jail – it’s a secure shelter.”

There are currently four shelters open in Miami-Dade County:

  • North Miami Beach Senior High at 1247 NE 167 St.
  • South Miami Senior at 6856 SW 53 St.
  • Felix Varela Senior at 15255 SW 96 St.
  • The Miami-Dade County Fair and Exhibition at 10901 Coral Way, in Miami-Dade’s Tamiami area