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Immigrants Second To Pets In Katrina Aftermath


---USA Gives More Attention To Pets Than To
Immigrants, During Katrina Catastrophe---
Roll Back The Rents
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September 18, 2005

Watching the mainstream news, one can tell that there
are plenty of stories about pets being evacuated to
cities across the country since the Katrina
catastrophe occurred.

But there is little to no mention at all about the
large immigrant population that settled in the Gulf
Coast which has now been displaced by the recent

Baton Rouge is boiling over in tension from all the
new comers as the areas population has doubled
overnight, from about 400,000 to more than 800,000.

It seems odd to live in a country where theres more
attention in the media being payed to lost pets in a
disaster than there is to the large, displaced
immigrant population that is affraid to seek
assistance and is suffering greatly.

The following is a momentary snapshot of the immigrant
question during a major disaster in the USA.

Tensions boil over as resources are limited during the
mass exodus from Gulf cities...

Migrants being exploited by US businesses...

Migrants fearful of deportation...

Migrants fearful of seeking assistance...

Language barriers keep migrants in the dark about
disaster news updates....

Countries worried about their migrants in the US...

More than usual migrant deaths at border crossings

Roll Back The Rents


City feels the strain from influx of evacuees

By KELLY BREWINGTON, The Baltimore Sun
September 16, 2005

BATON ROUGE, La. -- Two weeks after rallying a
massive relief effort to welcome survivors of
Hurricane Katrina, the strain can be seen everywhere
in this laid-back college town, and many are having
second thoughts.

The waits at gas pumps are daunting. Grocery stores
have trouble keeping food on their shelves. And
classrooms are overcrowded. Meanwhile everyone --
including Red Cross volunteers, job hunters, store
clerks and television news crews -- is perpetually
stuck in traffic.

The ripples of Katrina seem to have left no one
untouched. And beneath its delightful southern
hospitality, this has become a town of brewing

Crystal Brown, a lifelong resident of Baton Rouge, is
searching for a new home to rent but can't find any
vacancies. Her landlord is forcing her out because she
doesn't have a lease and he needs the home for
relatives displaced by the storm.

"You hate to complain because you know you are so
much better off than a lot of other people," she said.
"But I'm fixin' to be homeless and I wasn't even in
the path of the storm." Many Baton Rouge natives who
are looking for housing or jobs can't find them, she
said. "We've been swallowed up by an influx of new

No one knows exactly how many Katrina survivors are
living in Baton Rouge, but officials estimate the city
and surrounding East Baton Rouge parish have more than
doubled in size from about 400,000 to more than

The economics worry Brown the most.

"A lot of people who came in are from New Orleans and
couldn't get out because they are poor," she said. "I
would think that now, East Baton Rouge Parish is the
biggest welfare area in the state. And that's not a
good thing."

The displaced have picked up on the subtle changes in
attitude. Some say the overwhelming generosity has
faded, replaced by a humiliating assumption that
they're packing in some of the Crescent City's biggest
troubles, including struggles with crime and
relentless poverty.

Only about 80 miles apart, Baton Rouge and New
Orleans are distinct in their demographics and
character. The median income of East Baton Rouge is
about $5,000 more than in New Orleans. Nearly one in
four New Orleans residents live in poverty while the
poverty rate in Baton Rouge is lower -- 19 percent.
Blacks make up nearly 70 percent of the population in
New Orleans, versus 43 percent in Baton Rouge.

Charles Watts, who's living in a Red Cross shelter in
Baker, just north of Baton Rouge, said he feels
judgment in people's stares.

"People look at us like they think we have always
been poor and desperate," said Watts, 21, who
evacuated New Orleans' Elysian Fields neighborhood
with his extended family. "The truth is, we made it
out during the storm and we're just trying to get our
lives together."

"This is a storm that did this," he said. "People
need to realize this could happen anywhere to

Geraldine Walker, who evacuated New Orleans and is
taking refuge at the Bethany World Prayer Center in
Baker, said she has come to view the blue wristbands
that shelter residents must wear as an added
indignity. Sometimes she covers hers up when she
leaves the shelter for an appointment. People dismiss
her when they notice it, she said.

Some in Baton Rouge fear that a host of urban ills
will infiltrate the town. Along with the New Orleans'
distinction for jazz, gumbo and the French Quarter,
many here have long viewed it as a city of crime.

After Katrina, word spread through Baton Rouge that
the town was experiencing an upsurge in looting and
violent crime, although the rumors proved to be false.
City officials say its crime rate is unchanged.

Nevertheless, many believe the newest residents make
higher crime inevitable.

"New Orleans is a major urban center with a pretty
severe gang problem," said Stewart Clayton, 32, a
surgeon at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical
Center in Baton Rouge, who lived in New Orleans for
many years. "A lot of these people who are part of
those gangs are now here. It's only a matter of time
before we see that activity here."

In fact, Baton Rouge has become inundated with so
many evacuees, it's difficult to classify any of them.
Along with exiled New Orleans residents of various
races and backgrounds, there are business owners from
the suburbs of Metairie, shrimpers from swampy
Plaquemines Parish, and immigrant families who have
recently moved to the Gulf Coast seeking the American

Many believe the city simply will have to pull
together through this tough time.

"You can tell the city is tense," said Elle Burton, a
Baton Rouge resident who has taken in various
relatives who fled New Orleans.

"You can tell it's a real burden on our city," she
said. "But what we are dealing with is nothing
compared to the people who lived on rooftops waiting
to be rescued. I just think everyone's going to have
to get over it."

Undocumented aliens rebuilding Biloxi, say they
deserve visas - Sep 13 12:42 PM
BILOXI, Mississippi - As Biloxi rises from the
devastation of Hurricane Katrina, it is doing much of
it on the backs of undocumented foreign workers. Some
are starting to suggest that their contributions are
worth at least a temporary visa.

Click below for full story...

Many Katrina evacuees bound to be immigrants

Rockford Register Star - Sep 13 12:05 AM
Refugees? Evacuees? We seem confused about what to
call the hundreds of thousands of people who had to
leave the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina s winds
and subsequent floods destroyed or severely damaged
90,000 square miles.

Click below for full story...

Hispanic immigrants holed up in church disheartened,

REUTERS -- Sept 12, 2005

GONZALES, La. - At the Iglesia Lugar de Sanidad,
Hispanic immigrants uprooted by Hurricane Katrina are
asking themselves if the American dream is worth one
more shot.

About 100 immigrants from some of Latin America's most
impoverished countries have taken refuge in the church
in the Baton Rouge suburb of Gonzales since Katrina
ravaged New Orleans and their homes.

The immigrants - legal and illegal alike - sit in
small groups talking in Spanish. Some seek the help of
Mexican consular official Juan Carlos Lara, who has
set up a temporary office in the church to lend
support and to locate the missing.

On the wall is a poster advertising jobs in the
rebuilding of New Orleans, promising meals,
transportation and immunization.

"They're terrified," said Pastor Fernando Gutierrez,
who opened the doors of the church after refugees
arrived hungry and needing a bed. "They don't know
where they're going.

"They've paid such a price to come to the United
States, and they're now more destitute in many ways
than when they arrived in this country of hope."

Gutierrez said that in recent days some refugees have
tried to go back to their homes - or what is left of
them - but have returned to Gonzales with stories of

"Some of them come back pretty sad. Their homes are
flooded, and they basically lost everything," he said.

Gricelda Reyes, who is from Aguascalientes, Mexico,
said she stayed in New Orleans through the storm,
having just given birth to her daughter Kimberly.

"I have to be very strong for my children," a tearful
Reyes said through a translator. "It's hard. I don't
know how I'm doing it."

Illegal immigrants afraid to get storm aid

Associated Press
Posted on Fri, Sep. 09, 2005

NEW ORLEANS - Some sneak into shelters at night and
then slip out in the morning, praying they won't be
noticed. Others avoid government help altogether,
preferring to ride out the chaos and destruction alone
in a foreign land.

For illegal immigrants, the aftermath of Hurricane
Katrina has meant not only living without a home,
money or belongings, but also steering clear of the
government officials who have flocked to the area, for
fear of deportation.

Tens of thousands of illegal immigrants live in the
hardest-hit areas, although nobody knows exactly how
many. Jeffrey Passel of the Pew Hispanic Center gave a
conservative estimate of 20,000 to 35,000 in
Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

Mexican President Vicente Fox appealed to one of the
largest illegal populations in the devastated region
with messages in English and Spanish, urging them to
seek help from Mexican consulates or U.S. rescue

"We ask that you work without fear with the U.S.
authorities and cooperate with them," he said. "Don't
be afraid to follow rescue officials' directions. They
are capable people."

But many, mindful of their long and dangerous voyage
to the United States, have ignored Fox's advice,
choosing to work with local churches or within
tight-knit, Spanish-speaking communities.

Consular officials are struggling to reach out to
their citizens, attempting to locate the missing and
determine who might have died. Mexican officials have
even set up "mobile consulates" for illegal immigrants
living outside major cities.

So far, few are responding.

Mexican immigrant Juan Zamora, cast out of his New
Orleans apartment, sought temporary shelter at a
church in Denham Springs. He called his family to let
them know he was fine, but was afraid to contact U.S.
or Mexican officials.

"You feel destroyed because you're left with nothing
and have to start all over again," said Zamora, 40,
who arrived in New Orleans three years ago to work odd

Jorge Vitanza, Honduras' vice consul to New Orleans,
said his staff has been scouring refugee centers and
Hispanic neighborhoods to see how many of the 150,000
Hondurans living in Louisiana need help.

Of the 9,600 Salvadorans in the affected area, only 40
have gone to shelters, said Margarita de Escobar, vice
minister for Salvadorans living abroad.

About 40,000 Mexicans live in Louisiana and roughly 90
have been reported missing, said Juan Bosco Marti,
director-general for North America at the Mexican
Foreign Relations Department.

Mexican consular officials helped 297 Mexicans
displaced by the hurricane as of Tuesday, repatriating
21 to Mexico at their request.

About half of Louisiana's 30,000 Vietnamese - many of
whom fled war in their homeland decades ago - have
taken refuge in churches or with friends and family in
Houston, which also has a large Vietnamese population.

Click below for full story...

Fearing deportation, illegal immigrants avoid
hurricane help

Montgomery Independent - Sep 09 6:50 AM
NEW ORLEANS (AP) β€” Surviving after Hurricane Katrina
is even more of a problem for illegal immigrants. The
aftermath has meant not only living without a home,
money or belongings, but also steering clear of the
government officials who have flocked to the area. The
immigrants fear deportation.

Click below for full story...

Illegals Hit By Katrina Worry

CBS News - Sep 11 10:31 PM
The Department of Homeland Security has not said
definitively whether illegal immigrants stranded by
Hurricane Katrina can seek help from relief agencies
without fear of arrest.

Click below for full story...

Illegal Immigrants in La. Get No Assurances

Austin American-Statesman - Sep 10 12:29 AM
WASHINGTON β€” The Department of Homeland Security has
stopped short of reassuring illegal immigrants
victimized by Hurricane Katrina that they can seek
help from relief agencies without fear of arrest β€” a
promise the federal government made after the Sept.
11, 2001, attacks.

Click below for full story...

No US guarantees for illegal immigrants

KRON 4 Bay Area - Sep 10 9:25 AM
WASHINGTON The Department of Homeland Security is
making no promises to illegal immigrants who need help
after Hurricane Katrina. After Nine-Eleven, illegal
immigrants were promised that they could seek federal
help without fear of arrest. There's no such promise
this time.

Click below for full story...

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Re: Immigrants Second To Pets In Katrina Aftermath

I completely agree with you. As a foreigner in this land of free, i saw a humilating relaity. A pet lives far better life than a foreigner. A pet does not need visa, green card or this stare of "what the hell is she/he wearing" Check out my blog

Re: Immigrants Second To Pets In Katrina Aftermath

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