Hurricane Harvey strikes Houston

Photo courtesy of Time Magazine | Hurricane Harvey hit Houston hard, leaving many without homes or a place to go. Rumors circulated that undocumented immigrants would not receive aid due to their citizenship status. Houston’s city government revealed these rumors to be false and said that all people will receive aid.

The city of Houston is currently facing many obstacles as it is forced to deal with the effects of Hurricane Harvey. One of these issues is the overflow of people whose homes have been destroyed as a result of the hurricane and are currently left without shelter.

“My great uncle and aunt were stuck on the second floor of their house for hours until their son realized that something was up and was finally able to come get them,” Shay Wolfe, a junior Health Service Administration, said. “If they hadn’t had their son, I don’t know what would have happened to them. I still don’t know. Their entire house and both of their cars are destroyed.”

There were rumors circulating the internet that undocumented people living in Houston would not be able to receive aid based on their undocumented status. This, along with the ever-present fear of government authority that undocumented people face has sent the undocumented community of Houston into a frenzy.
“I am of Mexican descent and my mom works closely with many Mexican-American people, many of whom are undocumented,” Wolfe said. “I know that undocumented people in Houston are probably incredibly scared to reach out to these government agencies in fear of disclosing their identities and being deported. This is some people’s worst nightmare.”

On Aug. 29, the City of Houston issued a statement on Twitter written in both English and Spanish saying, “We will not ask for immigration status or papers from anyone at any shelter. This rumor is FALSE!”

“I’m glad that they issued this statement because no one deserves to die regardless of whether they have legal status or not,” Wolfe said.

There are currently over 17,000 residents of Houston that are in need of shelter. The entire Texas National Guard has been activated, as well as the United States Coast Guard and the Houston Police Department, which are all currently at the front line of providing disaster relief for Houston.

Chief Art Acevedo of the Houston Police Department said that “unfortunately, so far, we have more calls than we have capacity,” and that the Houston Police Department “has responded to more than 60,000 calls for service.” In an interview for PBS, Acevedo said that “…it just seems that every time we think we’re going to get a break, the weather keeps getting worse and the rain just will not stop and the flooding is just getting worse.”

The Xavier community has begun to respond to the needs of Houston in recent days, particularly, the sports community.

By: Sofia Estrada ~Guest Writer~