- The Washington Times
Thursday, September 5, 2019

Democratic presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke is petitioning the Trump administration to waive visa requirements for people fleeing Hurricane Dorian.

The former Texas congressman also wants the administration to immediately grant Temporary Protected Status (TPS) protection to people who face long-term displacement from the hurricane, should the Bahamas make such a request.

Mr. O’Rourke said in a statement on Wednesday that Mr. Trump’s failure to act on climate change has “left communities vulnerable to storms increasing in intensity and frequency like Hurricane Dorian.”

“It’s on Donald Trump and the United States of America to put the health and safety of people first and to step up to provide aid and refuge to those whose livelihoods have been destroyed by Dorian,” he said.

Mr. O’Rourke also said at a climate change town hall on Wednesday that he would support creating special protections for “climate refugees” — an idea supported by 2020 rival Julián Castro and others.

“I think that is part of our responsibility and also we, better than any other country on the face of the planet, understand the benefit that we gain when immigrants and refugees and asylum-seekers come here,” he said at the event, hosted by CNN.

GOP Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott of Florida also wrote a letter to President Trump on Wednesday asking the administration to waive or suspend certain visa requirements for affected people in the Bahamas who have relatives in the U.S.

“Although Florida’s east coast continues to experience high winds and storm surges, our state is fortunate to avoid a direct hit,” the senators wrote. “Floridians are now eager to help their family and friends in the Bahamas.

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