California fires: DHS halts immigration enforcement on evacuees barring 'serious public safety threat'

Federal authorities say they won't carry out immigration enforcement activities on those fleeing the numerous wildfires burning around California.

The Department of Homeland Security, which oversees Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, cited "the preservation of life and safety" as its highest priority in a statement released Friday, adding that it will only intervene "in the event of a serious public safety threat."

The announcement came amid evacuation orders for tens of thousands of residents around the state as crews in Northern California battled the Kincade Fire and crews in Southern California fight the Tick Fire and others.

Full statement from DHS:

"U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protection are concerned about the potential impact of the California wildfires in portions of the state. Our highest priority remains the preservation of life and safety. In consideration of these circumstances, there will be no immigration enforcement initiatives associated with evacuations or sheltering related to the wildfires, except in the event of a serious public safety threat."

INTERACTIVE MAP: Fires burning through the United States
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