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'Dreamer' died rescuing Houston flood victims
by Staff Writers
Chicago (AFP) Sept 5, 2017

Trump authorizes federal funding ahead of Irma
Washington (AFP) Sept 6, 2017 - President Donald Trump declared states of emergency in Florida, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands on Tuesday ahead of potentially devastating Hurricane Irma's strike.

The move allows federal assistance funds to be deployed so that authorities can better handle emergencies in their areas.

The storm, packing winds of 185 miles (300 kilometers) per hour, is considered potentially catastrophic for Puerto Rico -- a commonwealth of 3.5 million US citizens -- the tiny US Virgin Islands (100,000) and Florida, population 21 million.

Trump's declaration "authorizes the Department of Homeland Security (and) Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to coordinate all disaster relief efforts," a White House statement read.

"This action will help alleviate the hardship and suffering that the emergency may inflict on the local population, and provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures."

A volunteer rescuer who drowned trying to save others from the floods in Houston last week has been identified as a recipient of the immigration amnesty program the Trump administration ended Tuesday.

Alonso Guillen, 31, was a so-called "Dreamer" protected from deportation under the program known as DACA, according to US Congressman Joaquin Castro of Texas and immigration advocates.

Guillen's body was recovered at the weekend, the latest victim of mega-storm Harvey whose death brought the toll from last week's historic flooding in southeast Texas to approximately 60.

"Alonso Guillen put the needs of others above his own safety and died while trying to rescue people in need," Castro said.

News of Guillen's death galvanized immigration advocates, as the Trump administration announced it was rescinding DACA, the program protecting from deportation some 800,000 immigrants brought to the US as children.

"Texas's Dreamers were victims of the flood, first responders to the flood, and at least one -- Alonso Guillen of Lufkin -- was a volunteer who gave his life to rescue his fellow Texans from the flood," said Terri Burke of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Guillen and his friend Tomas Carreon, 25, were with a group of rescue volunteers, when they both fell from their boat and drowned in the fast-moving waters, according to US media reports.

The Harris County medical examiner's office said his body was recovered on Sunday.

His mother, who lives in Mexico awaiting the right to legally immigrate to the US, was allowed to travel for her son's funeral in Texas, The Washington Post reported.

"He liked helping people," Guillen's brother Jesus, a US citizen, told The Post.

Typical of many Dreamers, Guillen's family was of mixed immigration status. His youngest brother was deported from the US five years ago, but his father was a legal resident, The Post reported.

As news spread late last week that Trump was looking to rescind DACA, another Harvey rescuer also waded into the debate.

A Houston-area paramedic who spent days rescuing flood victims said he was able to legally work because of the deferral program.

"We're not doing anything but giving back, being model citizens," Jesus Contreras, 23, told MSNBC.

Anxious Houston storm victims come home, dig out
Houston (AFP) Sept 2, 2017
Maline Johnney knew it was going to be bad when she returned to her Houston home after Hurricane Harvey. But she was unprepared for the mess - and the stench - when she opened the door. "It smelled like a pig pen," she told AFP Saturday, hours after she cracked open her front door, like thousands of fellow Texans, to face the very personal effects of a massive disaster. Days after she ... read more

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