Tom Bossert speaks at the White House press briefing on Thursday, August 31
CNN
Tom Bossert speaks at the White House press briefing on Thursday, August 31
Now playing
01:05
White House: No screenings at shelters
Now playing
01:14
Storm chaser captures Hurricane Harvey's force
Now playing
00:42
FEMA official: We'll be in Texas for years
Satellite images from Digital Globe show the aftermath of Harvey.
Digital Globe
Satellite images from Digital Globe show the aftermath of Harvey.
Now playing
00:49
Satellite images show before and after Harvey
HOUSTON, TX - AUGUST 28:  Evacuees fill up cots at the George Brown Convention Center that has been turned into a shelter run by the American Red Cross to house victims of the high water from Hurricane Harvey on August 28, 2017 in Houston, Texas. Harvey, which made landfall north of Corpus Christi late Friday evening, is expected to dump upwards to 40 inches of rain in areas of Texas over the next couple of days.  (Photo by Erich Schlegel/Getty Images
Erich Schlegel/Getty Images
HOUSTON, TX - AUGUST 28: Evacuees fill up cots at the George Brown Convention Center that has been turned into a shelter run by the American Red Cross to house victims of the high water from Hurricane Harvey on August 28, 2017 in Houston, Texas. Harvey, which made landfall north of Corpus Christi late Friday evening, is expected to dump upwards to 40 inches of rain in areas of Texas over the next couple of days. (Photo by Erich Schlegel/Getty Images
Now playing
01:36
See where 10,000 people are living after Harvey
Now playing
00:47
Flood forces Texas TV station to evacuate
Now playing
00:43
Lt. Gen. Honore: Stop congratulating each other
Now playing
01:55
Abbott: Harvey destruction worse than Katrina
Ranchers Hurricane Harvey cattle sandoval pkg_00000000.jpg
Ranchers Hurricane Harvey cattle sandoval pkg_00000000.jpg
Now playing
02:28
Texas ranchers battle to save cattle
Ric Saldivar newday
Ric Saldivar newday
Now playing
01:48
Man recounts losing six family members
WASHINGTON, DC :  U.S. President Donald Trump walks across the South Lawn after returning to the White House August 30, 2017 in Washington, DC. Trump traveled to Springfield, Missouri, to participate in a tax reform kickoff event, according to the White House. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC : U.S. President Donald Trump walks across the South Lawn after returning to the White House August 30, 2017 in Washington, DC. Trump traveled to Springfield, Missouri, to participate in a tax reform kickoff event, according to the White House. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Now playing
00:51
WH: Trump to donate $1M to flood relief
otis dog hurricane harvey viral picture ebof_00004503.jpg
Tiele Dockens
otis dog hurricane harvey viral picture ebof_00004503.jpg
Now playing
01:03
Photo of dog carrying bag of food goes viral
Pastor Osteen
CNN
Pastor Osteen
Now playing
01:04
Joel Osteen responds to critics on Harvey
Houston flooding Hurricane Harvey kprc sot_00000000.jpg
KPRC
Houston flooding Hurricane Harvey kprc sot_00000000.jpg
Now playing
01:58
Families try to escape rising water
harvey emotional
harvey emotional
Now playing
01:35
Harvey brings 'hell' to Texas residents
pup
CNN
pup
Now playing
02:29
Pets separated from their families in Harvey

Story highlights

Bossert said undocumented immigrants would not be "rounded up" at shelters

"Anybody needing food, water or shelter is going to get it," he said

Washington CNN —  

The White House on Thursday sought to reassure undocumented immigrants in areas affected by Hurricane Harvey that they would not face immigration screening at shelters or during life-saving operations – unless they’ve committed a crime.

But at the same time, President Donald Trump’s top homeland security aide warned that undocumented immigrants who have been displaced by the storm were not likely to receive substantial amounts of federal aid.

“I don’t think there’s going to be a lot of benefits going out to illegal immigrants in terms of the American taxpayer,” said Tom Bossert, Trump’s homeland security adviser.

Bossert said undocumented immigrants would not be “rounded up” at shelters, but that the administration would continue to target undocumented immigrants who have committed crimes since arriving in the US.

“Anybody needing food, water or shelter is going to get it. Anybody that’s here illegally that subsequently committed a crime is going to get caught and thrown out,” Bossert said.

Bossert’s comments were the latest attempt by state and local officials to reassure undocumented immigrants fleeing their homes in the wake of Harvey that they should not fear deportation if they head to shelters. Many of those fears were sparked by the Trump administration’s more aggressive posture on deportations, relaxing guidelines on immigration offices who were tasked to only prioritize violent criminals under the Obama administration.

“In terms of immediate life-saving, no individual human being should worry about their immigraiton status unless they’ve committed a crime,” Bossert said. “We won’t go start rounding people up when they up (at shelters).”

But Bossert also avoided stepping away from the administration’s tough line on illegal immigration, stressing that undocumented immigrants who have committed crimes are “going to be rounded up.”

“If you’re an immigrant that has committed a crime, you’re going to be removed,” Bossert said.

Bossert’s comments also came as Trump is nearing a decision on DACA, the deferred action program that granted temporary legal status to undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children.

Bossert and White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump is still reviewing the policy.

CNN’s Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.