Homeland Security Advisor Tom Bossert says that all Americans affected by Hurricane Harvey regardless of their immigration status will receive emergency, life-saving support.
The bulk of Thursday press briefing was focused on providing updates and future plans regarding Hurricane Harvey and the damage it has caused. Tom Bossert spoke first to national, interstate, local, as well as international demonstrations of support. He specifically mentioned that heads of state from Mexico and Canada had phoned earlier to express their support and condolences for the people affected by the hurricane. Bossert said the support was much appreciated, and this was a positive representation of, “neighbors helping neighbors”. He also said the administration “very much appreciate[s] it”.
In speaking to the damage caused by Hurricane Harvey, though the numbers are still only estimates, Bossert said that 100,000 homes have been potentially affected. Despite this significant and large number, Bossert stressed that impacts varied, and so do the types of insurance (if any) the houses’ were covered under.
Further, Bossert said that this was the first time all task forces had been activated since 9/11. A striking statement that brings to light the immense amount of resources that have been put to use to address this disaster, as well as the cooperation between forces at a local, state, and federal level. Bossert said, “coordination is happening better than any storm we’ve seen before”, though he also advised against comparing different disasters, since, “every disaster is different.”
In terms of questions and concerns surrounding available support and regulations towards DACA and illegal immigrants, Bossert was quite clear in the message he was getting across – anyone needing emergency assistance, food, water, shelter, would receive it. He said questions about DACA and this topic may work in a negative manner, in terms of deterring and discouraging people from seeking help. He did also say that those here illegally will be found and kicked out of the country, but again stressed that anyone needing life-saving help would receive it.
DACA decision hasn’t been made yet
Despite recent reports that DACA will be phased out by attrition, meaning it won’t be completely canceled but rather no new contracts will be issued, meaning the program would eventually be lapsed out, the administration did not confirm that this decision had been reached. Sarah Sanders faced several questions about DACA, to which the continued response was that a “decision hasn’t been made. We don’t know when the final review will be completed.”
Iraqi success in liberating the city of Tel Afar from ISIS
Sanders began her question period by making an announcement of the recent Iraqi success in liberating the city of Tel Afar from ISIS. She said this was a major step forward in the fight against ISIS, as this was a hometown of a lot of top ISIS commanders. She wanted to “congratulate Iraqis in achieving this milestone”, and said the U.S. will continue to support them in anti-terrorism efforts.
When asked about tax reform, especially the proposed tax relief for companies and the “top 1%”, Sanders stressed that tax reform was a “big priority for the administration”, especially to, “provide tax relief for middle-class America”. In terms of the expected party divide in Congress for passing this tax reform, Sanders said that she hopes that democrats “want to help all Americans”, and said the administration hopes to pass this reform as soon as possible but did not confirm whether the September goal would be feasible.