Hurricane Dorian: ICE suspends immigration enforcement as dangerous storm approaches Florida

Credit: NOAA via AP

Credit: NOAA via AP

Immigration officials said Friday that they have temporarily suspended immigration enforcement operations in Florida as Hurricane Dorian churns toward the state.

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An unidentified spokesperson for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement told the Miami New Times the agency suspended operations Thursday as preparations for Dorian ramped up.

"We are not going out and arresting people while a hurricane approaches," the spokesperson said, according to the New Times. "Anyone who says that is spreading false rumors that could endanger people's lives."

It's not uncommon for ICE to suspend operations during or after hurricanes, CNN reported. In a statement, agency officials told the news network they do not "conduct immigration enforcement operations at hurricane evacuation sites or shelters."

"A crisis such as the devastation and destruction caused by a hurricane is not the time to compound one tragedy upon another by spreading fear in our community with false rumors of ICE operations," agency officials told CNN in a statement. "Instead we must stand as one community to focus on aiding the victims."

Forecasters with the National Hurricane Center said Dorian strengthened Friday afternoon to become a major Category 3 storm with maximum sustained winds measured at 115 mph. Forecasters warned Dorian was expected to strengthen further before reaching the Florida coast early next week.

Category 3 storms have sustained winds between 111 mph and 129 mph. The gusts are strong enough to severely damage well-built structures, snap or uproot trees and down power poles, according to the National Weather Service.

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