An NPR report on Tuesday focused on the "worry" that many illegal immigrants have about whether they are able to receive assistance after days of flooding in Houston, Texas, but ignored the strain on U.S. resources being caused by the estimated 500,000 illegal immigrants in the area.
Matt McCleskey, morning host of NPR's Washington, D.C., affiliate WAMU, teased the segment on Tuesday by noting that for illegal immigrants in Houston, "There's this additional layer of worry" about calling authorities for help because they may be deported, especially now as the Trump administration has ramped up federal immigration law enforcement.
Illegal immigrants should have nothing to fear. Federal agents "are not conducting immigration enforcement at relief sites such as shelters or food banks," according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, except in the cases that might threaten public safety.
That's a position the federal government typically takes in drastic cases like the one facing Houston.
Unmentioned in the report were the strain rescue teams and authorities are already under as they respond to thousands of people who did not escape the disaster, a burden that only grows with the prospect of rescuing thousands of additional people who are not in the country legally.
"The Coast Guard is continuing to receive upwards of 1,000 calls per hour," US Coast Guard Lt. Mike Hart told CNN on Monday. "Today alone, the Coast Guard has rescued over 3,000 people. That includes both air rescues and rescues using boats."
Houston Police Department Chief Art Acevedo told PBS that his department was getting "more calls than we have capacity."
NPR's John Burnett, who reported the segment, concluded his story by citing an anonymous "immigrant advocate" who said Houston would need illegals "when the city starts to rebuild after Harvey."