Posted: Jul 26, 2014 6:55 PM
Updated: Jul 26, 2014 10:16 PM
MCALLEN - Rio Grande Valley Emergency Management officials are concerned that the large amount of people here illegally may pose a dangerous situation in the event severe weather like a hurricane threatens the Valley.
People who cross the border illegally have long been part of conversation in law enforcement circles.
But now, emergency managers in McAllen have questions of their own, in the event of a hurricane.
"You have extra sheltering areas and detention centers right here," said Barry Goldsmith, Brownsville National Weather Service Coordinator. "And are they able to withstand the wind, are they able to withstand flood waters nearby to get humanitarian relief."
All these questions come with the responsibility of keeping illegal crossers safe in the event a hurricane strikes.
City officials, along with several emergency managers valley-wide came together to analyze the numbers.
The Valley's population exceeds 1.3 million people according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Add to that another 4,000 people here illegally. How do we manage the extra bodies.
A meeting this week in McAllen set a plan in motion.
"Before the public gets their mandatory evacuation, the plan is to get all these unaccompanied women and children out of the Valley and to safer ground," said Goldsmith.
Where illegal crossers will be evacuated, will be kept private. Recent protesters have threatened their safety.
This plan helps keep the bigger picture in mind -- evacuating everyone safely.
"We don't have a situation like what happened in the Houston/Galveston area when they evacuated from Rita and people actually died on Interstate 45," said Goldsmith. "They were not able to go through traffic and were running out of gas."
Keeping everyone safe, whether you're legally here or not.