Immigration Nation: FEMA and Sandy

Just as a reminder, the Green Card Lottery ends in only a couple of days. Apply now to make sure that you can get permanent residency in the United States!

Permanent Residency not only allows one to live and work in the United States, but also grants immigrants the same protection of American infrastructure and programs that other residents get. An excellent example of this, which has been illustrated recently, is the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and its handling of Hurricane Sandy.

Hurricane Sandy was an absolutely massive storm. Disturbingly large, in fact, and some climatologists have begun to speculate that its cause might have something to do with the large amounts of polar ice that have melted in the past year. During media coverage there have been comparisons to the story of the Perfect Storm which depicted a similarly large storm that occurred in the early 1990s, but Sandy happens to be significantly larger and more damaging to the coast.

Floodwaters, high winds, and other storm damage have affected places from the Caribbean all the way to maritime Canada. Damage from the storm is estimated to be about $50 billion dollars when all is said and done and 151 people have died from a variety of causes including being struck by flying debris and electrocution. The Mid-Atlantic States have been heavily flooded, even before the storm made landfall and before it began to rain. Manhattan, a borough of New York City was completely shut down, its subways and stock market shut down for two whole days. Large portions of the North-Eastern United States are completely without power.

However, FEMA’s response to the disaster has been largely lauded as a great success for the Obama administration. This disaster could have been much worse. Indeed, in 2006, Hurricane Katrina annihilated New Orleans and even to this day the city remains severely damaged, hobbled. Though the east coast is currently a mess, it will recover in an orderly fashion and only after a couple of days the stock exchange started up again and the trains began to run as well. Also, there weren’t any significant infrastructure failures such as the levies which broke during the Katrina disaster.

No reports of widespread looting have occurred and though there were a few structures on the Jersey shore that were washed away there weren’t any major structures that simply melted into the ocean. Obama’s response to the disaster has been so successful that praise has come from across party lines. Governor Chris Christie, a Republican has spoken highly of Obama and FEMA this week. This has effectively distanced Mitt Romney from an important and powerful leader in the Republican Party. Future reports may discuss the impact Hurricane Sandy has had on the election.

Overall, the disaster has illustrated the success of the Obama administration in handling federal issues and shown the importance of a major federal aid program. The purpose of government, after all, is to help its denizens and that is exactly what FEMA has done.