PoliticsO'Rourke calls on Trump to grant protected status to migrants fleeing Dorian damage
Before Dorian, Florida groups help immigrants get prepared
Charity groups are helping vulnerable populations along the eastern coast who tend to have fewer resources to prepare ahead of major storms. They include Central American immigrants and elderly people in retirement communities all the way up the coast, and homeless people in parks. Lawmakers are going to Spanish-language radio stations asking people to go through the hurricane plan with older relatives who live by themselves. Teachers are telling immigrant children to explain to their parents what they need to have in their hurricane kit.
Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas), a 2020 presidential hopeful, on Wednesday called on the Trump administration to waive visa requirements for people displaced by Hurricane Dorian.
In a statement, the O'Rourke campaign said the damage from the storm, which killed at least 20 people in the Bahamas, was exacerbated by the administration's environmental policies.
"His administration's failure to take action on climate change and its continuous rollbacks of environmental protections have left communities vulnerable to storms increasing in intensity and frequency like Hurricane Dorian," O'Rourke said in the statement.
Hurricane Dorian: 'Waffle House Index' put to test during disasters
State, local, federal governments unofficially use the "Waffle House Index" as barometer for how quickly a community will recover after disaster.
"It's on Donald Trump and the United States of America to put the health and safety of people first and to step up to provide aid and refuge to those whose livelihoods have been destroyed by Dorian," he added.
In his statement, O'Rourke also calls on the administration to grant temporary protected status to anyone facing long-term displacement in the wake of the hurricane if the Bahamian government initiates the request.
President Trumpearlier this week that the U.S. is "sending crews to help" the Bahamas in the wake of the storm, while the U.S. Agency for International Development said Tuesday that the U.S. has sent a disaster response team to the islands.
Bahamian officials say 2,500 people registered as missing in Dorian's wake.
Bahamian officials said on Wednesday that 2,500 people have been registered as missing in the wake of the devastating Hurricane Dorian but cautioned the full list of missing has not been checked to see if any of those people are in shelters. "This list has not yet been checked against government records of who are staying in shelters or who have been evacuated," National Emergency Management Agency spokesman Carl Smith told a press conference. "The database processing is underway." Thousands of people are in shelters on the islands. Officials have confirmed 50 deaths caused by the Sept. 1 storm.