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Federal officials halt immigration arrests during Hurricane Florence

Hurricane Florence forecast
Hurricane Florence forecast 02:48

WILMINGTON, N.C. — U.S. immigration officials say they won't do any active enforcement during evacuations or in shelters during Hurricane Florence. Homeland Security officials say Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers are focused on the preservation of life and safety.

The Trump administration has stepped up arrests of people living in the country illegally, but during this storm they say they won't enforce immigration laws unless there's a serious public safety threat.

Immigration officers have been dispatched to help with response and recovery as Florence lashes North and South Carolina with life-threatening winds, rain and floods.

But Jeff Byard of the Federal Emergency Management Agency says saving lives is the priority, and anyone fearing for their safety should call 911 for help. Federal officials say they don't want people to fear going to shelters.

The hurricane made landfall near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina at about 7:17 a.m., the National Hurricane Center said. The Category 1 storm is expected to move further across parts of North Carolina and South Carolina Friday and Saturday. More than 1 million people are under mandatory and voluntary evacuation orders, with more than 10 million people under storm watches or warnings.

FEMA chief on Hurricane Florence response 05:01
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