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Hurricane potential off S. Texas coast leaves some wondering if Border Patrol will make good on threat to screen for undocumented

LatinaLista — Dolly is getting her act together and while that’s usually a good thing for most of those with this name, it isn’t for this Dolly — Tropical Storm Dolly, that is.

Proposed trajectory of Tropical Storm Dolly through Texas’ Rio Grande Valley.
(Source: National Hurricane Center)

According to the latest advisory issued by the National Hurricane Center:


The point of impact is calculated to be around Brownsville,Texas. There are reports that people are flocking to the Home Depot stores in the area and stocking up on supplies and materials to board their homes.
The city of Brownsville is giving out sandbags to every resident who brings a proof of residency and a shovel and a multi-agency coordination center is being set up in McAllen to smooth communications between different jurisdictions. The governor of Texas has also activated the National Guard to be on standby in case they’re needed.
With all this activity, there is still “an elephant in the room” that no one has openly addressed yet — if evacuation becomes necessary, will the border patrol follow through on their threat of separating the undocumented from the general population?

On July 9, 2008, two Texas civil rights groups filed a lawsuit in Federal Court ordering Customs and Border Patrol to release information on its plan to check immigration status at checkpoints during a hurricane evacuation. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of several non-profit organizations in the Valley that help the undocumented.
Representatives from the civil rights groups say that such a lawsuit is necessary because the Border Patrol has not been totally consistent in its answers when asked about their plans. The lawsuit, they hope, will force the agency to formally clarify their plans.
Not even Director of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff’s comments in May where he said:

“In the event of an emergency, and the need for an evacuation, priority No. 1 by a country mile is the safe evacuation of people who are leaving the danger zone. Instructions to the Border Patrol and Customs and Border Protection are clear. They are to do nothing to impede a safe and speedy evacuation of a danger zone.”

is pacifying groups and Valley residents. If the Border Patrol should decide to participate in any evacuation measures that take place as a result of Tropical Storm Dolly, the people have said they would ignore the evacuation.
We can only hope that it doesn’t come to that point, but if the situation worsens where people will have to be evacuated for their own safety, we hope that common sense prevails and the appreciation of the value of human life surpasses the enforcement of any misguided policy, no matter if it is the law or not.

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  • Disgusted by this
    July 22, 2008 at 12:02 am

    This is disgusting, it’s like they want to find the bodies of little children floating face down in the water. If this goes through, I’m holding every person who made this possible for responsible by camping outside their house and posting pictures of the ones that died. I will follow them around.

  • Challis
    July 22, 2008 at 11:41 am

    Wow, I know that when I was living in Cozumel during Hurricane Wilma, my family was a bit upset that I didn’t come home.
    As an American citizen, I could have gotten a free flight to the US.
    But my home was in Cozumel, and my fiancee (at the time) was a Mexican citizen, so we would have had to seperate.
    I think that during a time of natural disaster, we must act first to save human lives, not ask about questions about citizenship and status.
    and just FYI- Mexico was VERY active in the hours and days after the devestating hurricane. A government employee was at my door a day after the hurricane to give me a grocery bag full of food.
    FEMA came, not to help, but to take notes after their screwed up handeling of NO, TX and MS after Katrina.

  • laura
    July 22, 2008 at 1:23 pm

    Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff is responsible for the deaths of thousands of people of New Orleans three years ago. Despite being responsible , he was never held responsible. Instead he was praised by President Bush, just like his underling, FEMA Director “Heckuvajob Brownie.”
    Now Mr. Chertoff can’t state unequivocally that visa status is completely irrelevant in case of a natural disaster? That in the face of a hurricane, all efforts go to saving lives?
    What kind of a regime are we living under?

  • Texan123
    July 22, 2008 at 2:17 pm

    Lets pray that Mexico alerts her people to the danger, so they can move away from the coast.
    North is not the only direction for evacuation. I think these harsher policies have arisen from so many who take advantage of any situation to cross the border. If the Border Patrol announced no documents would be checked for 24 hours before the storm hit, thousands would try to get in there, rather than moving further inland.
    Mexico has to take responsibility for all these crackdowns. If so many had not violated our laws for so long, with Mexico’s blessing, this might not be necessary.

  • Horace
    July 22, 2008 at 6:06 pm

    Simple, give illegal aliens a mandate to leave now, or get picked up and deported. No one’s forcing these people to stay. They can go home the same way they got here. What’s the problem?

Comments are closed.