As Florence Hits Coastline, North Carolina Residents Fear Immigration Enforcement ( )

Hurricane Florence’s onslaught has begun. But even before the category 1 hurricane made landfall, it forced some undocumented immigrants in North Carolina, including those in relatively safe areas, to evacuate their homes.

Originally anticipated to be a category 5 hurricane, the downgraded Florence is still expected to result in “life-threatening” rainfall, flooding, and structural damage, according to the Washington Post.

Residents of North Carolina’s central Piedmont area—encompassing some of the state’s largest cities, including Charlotte, Raleigh, Greensboro, Durham, and Winston-Salem—are no longer expected to experience the full force of the storm, but some undocumented immigrants in the area have had to evacuate their mobile home parks. Afraid to ask for assistance because of their immigration status, many are turning to social media for help. 

Laura Garduño Garcia, a Greensboro-based organizer with the American Friends Service Committee and a member of the immigrant rights organization Siembra NC, told Rewire.News that undocumented immigrants in the city of Burlington who reside in mobile homes were abruptly issued evacuation notices and told they could not return to their homes until at least Saturday. 

“It’s in an area with an abundance of tall trees and it’s clearly a liability issue, the mobile home park didn’t want any responsibility if something bad happened,” said Garduño Garcia, who has been fielding calls from concerned undocumented community members all week. “People are being given evacuation notices with no direction on where to go, and the information in the area that is being disseminated—at least in Alamance County—is not in Spanish.”

The organizer has been helping to direct community members to shelters. She recommends that those circulating shelter information online verify what they’re posting is accurate, either by calling or checking the website. Siembra NC has a number