Hurricane Katrina-Related Immigration Issues and Legislation
Ruth Ellen Wasem
September 19, 2005
The devastation and displacement caused by Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf Coast region of the United States pose a host of environmental, human resource, and other public policy challenges. Caught in the web of this tragedy and its sweeping dilemmas are a unique subset of immigration-related issues. The loss of livelihood, habitat, and life itself has very specific implications for foreign nationals who lived in the Gulf Coast region. Whether the noncitizen or foreign national is a legal permanent resident (LPR), a nonimmigrant (e.g., temporary resident such a foreign student, intracompany transferee, or guest worker) or an unauthorized alien (i.e., illegal immigrant) is a significant additional factor in how federal immigration and public welfare laws are applied. In this context, the key question is whether Congress should relax any of these laws pertaining to foreign nationals who are victims of Hurricane Katrina.
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