Drawing on HAP and other studies of immigrants’ experiences through Harvey, a coordinated approach to integrating immigrant needs into disaster planning will increase our region’s resilience.
Immigrant resilience is essential to the Houston region’s resilience – our ability to withstand and mitigate the stress of disaster. Immigrants make up 23% of the Greater Houston region, and disasters take a disproportionate toll on them – particularly those who are low-income. Immigrants are vital to the region’s workforce, economy, recovery, and culture. We cannot afford to continue to overlook this community. The vast majority of Houston region residents believe we should integrate immigrants into our society rather than alienate them, as is done by our federal and state administrations’ anti-immigrant policies.
Three opportunities to increase immigrant resilience emerged from HAP interviews:
- Inclusive communication
- Accessible resources
- Culturally-competent approaches
Our region’s leaders must coordinate emergency management planning and use continued Harvey recovery to build the systems needed for a more equitable recovery for immigrants through future disasters and therefore a regional resilience. Foundationally, decision makers must:
- Ensure the data informing policy and funding decisions includes vulnerable populations, including immigrants.
- Inform policy and funding decisions with existing studies that document immigrants’ experience in Harvey response and recovery.
- Consult with immigrant-serving organizations in emergency management planning.
HILSC calls on government and non-profit agencies, including funders, to incorporate HAP recommendations into their strategic emergency management plans. HILSC’s collaborative of more than 40 organizations have already begun implementation and we stand ready for partnership in this complex endeavor.