Hurricane Ike Takes Aim at Texas
This article is from the archive of The New York Sun before the launch of its new website in 2022. The Sun has neither altered nor updated such articles but will seek to correct any errors, mis-categorizations or other problems introduced during transfer.
McALLEN, Texas — With Hurricane Ike steaming into the Gulf of Mexico, Texas emergency officials yesterday stood ready to order 1 million people evacuated from the impoverished Rio Grande Valley and tried to convince tens of thousands of illegal immigrants that they have less to fear from the Border Patrol than from the storm.
Emergency planning officials were meeting all day to decide if and when to announce a mandatory evacuation for coastal counties close to the Mexican border.
With forecasts showing Ike blowing ashore this weekend, authorities lined up nearly 1,000 buses in case they are needed to move out the many poor and elderly people who have no cars.
Federal authorities gave assurances they would not check people’s immigration status at evacuation loading zones or inland checkpoints. But residents were skeptical, and there were worries that many illegal immigrants would refuse to board buses and go to shelters for fear of getting arrested and deported.
“People are nervous,” a Roman Catholic priest and immigrant advocate, Reverend Michael Seifert, said. “The message that was given to me was that it’s going to be a real problem.”