Group Wants Special Status for Illegals Affected by Katrina

AP, Sept. 20

Illegal immigrants affected by Hurricane Katrina should have “protected humanitarian status,” representatives of Latin American and Caribbean communities said Tuesday in an appeal to the White House.

The groups said the protection is needed because immigrants fearing deportation, including some with U.S.-born children, are not seeking help at shelters because officials are asking for Social Security numbers in order to enter.

“The immigrants are the invisible victims of the hurricane,” said Gloria Saucedo, of Hermandad Mexicana of Los Angeles, Calif., whose group is a member of the National Alliance of Latin American and Caribbean Communities, which is pushing for immigration reform.

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“If federal authorities are using this as an enforcement opportunity, it creates a moral dilemma for us in how do we advise our constituents,” Cecilia Munoz, vice president of policy for the National Council of La Raza, the largest U.S.-based Hispanic advocacy group, said Monday.

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