Hurricane Harvey rumor control

There are a lot of rumors floating around the internet in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. Unfortunately, there are also many scams out there trying to take advantage of people’s good will during this massive flood event. FEMA has put together a rumor control website to fact check many of the rumors and keep the public informed of what’s true, what’s false and how to tell the difference.

 

HIRING:

Rumor: There are reports of a flyer titled FEMA Field Inspectors needed ASAP and states Earn $4-5K per week call (214) 284-XXXX for instructions on how to apply between the hours of 9:00am – 11:00am up to August 31, 2017.

Green checkmarkThis report is TRUE. (August 29/Updated 8/30).

Green checkmarkFEMA is hiring field inspectors under a pre-existing contract to assist with surge capacity of field inspections.

Rumor: There are reports stating FEMA is looking to employ 1,000 people offering to pay $2,000/week for 90 days and the phone number to call is 888-776-XXXX.

Red "X" MarkThis report is FALSE. (August 29/Updated 8/30)

Green checkmarkLearn more about official FEMA job opportunities to help with the response and review a list of trusted non-profit organizations who are active in disaster response.

 

IMPERSONATIONS

Rumor: There are reports of people impersonating Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents in Texas.

Green checkmarkThis report is TRUE. (August 29).

Green checkmarkReal Homeland Security Investigations officials wear badges labeled “special agent,” which members of the public can ask to see and verify. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers with Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) also wear badges labeled with ERO Officer. They also carry credentials with their name and organization. Members of the public who receive such visitors should ask to see these properly labeled badges, and their credentials.

In addition, these officers and special agents would be conducting hurricane relief operations with other local law enforcement agencies. Also note that during Hurricane Harvey relief efforts, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is not conducting immigration enforcement operations in the affected area.

To report suspicious activity or individuals you believe are impersonating ICE officials, members of the public should immediately contact ICE toll free at 866-347-2423.

 

UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS:

Rumor: There are rumors undocumented immigrants cannot go to a shelter because they will be reported to ICE or CBP.

Red "X" MarkThis rumor is FALSE. (August 27)

Green checkmarkU.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have stated that they are not conducting immigration enforcement at relief sites such as shelters or food banks. In the rare instance where local law enforcement informs ICE of a serious criminal alien at a relief site that presents a public safety threat, ICE will make a determination on a case-by-case basis about the appropriate enforcement actions. More information is available at U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) joint statement. The Federal Government strongly encourages all persons to follow the guidance of local officials and seek shelter regardless of their immigration status.

Green checkmarkMost shelters are managed by local communities, the Red Cross, and other voluntary agencies. American Red Cross’ humanitarian mission is to feed, shelter, and provide other forms of support without regard to race, religion, or citizenship status. The Red Cross will not ask people to show any form of identification in order to stay in their shelters.  In order to receive some Red Cross services, such as meeting with a caseworker to facilitate disaster recovery, they will need to verify a person’s pre-disaster address. For people who don’t have government-issued identification, the Red Cross can usually do this through alternative means, such as a copy of a utility bill.

 

DONATIONS/VOLUNTEERING

If you are interested in donating to the hurricane relief, a list of trusted organizations in Texas can be found here:

http://txvoad.communityos.org/cms/node/104

For volunteer opportunities go to: https://www.nvoad.org/how-to-help/

Remember, do not self-deploy to a disaster area. Work through trusted volunteer organizations that have coordinated relief efforts with government officials to ensure your efforts are being used in the right way and your safety is  a primary concern.

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