ICE says it will not conduct immigration enforcement operations in affected areas during Hurricane Dorian

WASHINGTON -- As Hurricane Dorian moves towards Florida, a spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Friday in a statement provided to USA TODAY that “despite false rumors to the contrary, ICE does not conduct immigration enforcement operations at hurricane evacuation sites or shelters, such as during and immediately after hurricanes.”

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

ICE has refrained from enforcement during past storms.

The agency announced it would not conduct enforcement actions in New Orleans earlier this year when Tropical Storm Berry came ashore, reported at the time.

And ICE used the same approach during Hurricane Florence last year, and hurricanes Harvey and Irma in 2017.

“The men and women of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) always assist in various roles during any local, regional or national crisis, such as they are now doing with Hurricane Dorian,” the agency's Friday statement also reads.

The hurricane center said "Dorian is likely to remain an extremely dangerous hurricane while it moves near the northwestern Bahamas and approaches the Florida peninsula through the weekend."

No evacuations were ordered yet, but Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis expanded state of emergency declarations throughout all of the state's 67 counties and warned Floridians to have a hurricane plan in place. President Donald Trump on Friday also declared a state of emergency to facilitate federal recovery efforts for the storm's potential destruction.

More: Trump declares emergency in Florida as state braces for Hurricane Dorian

Contributing: Ryan Miller and Alan Gomez

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Hurricane Dorian: No ICE enforcement operations in affected areas