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hurricane harvey

Border Patrol won't close immigration checkpoints as people flee Hurricane Harvey

The United States Border Patrol will not shut down its immigration checkpoints as Hurricane Harvey approaches the state, The Texas Tribune reports. In a statement, the agency said: "Border Patrol checkpoints will not be closed unless there is a danger to the safety of the traveling public and our agents. Border Patrol resources, including personnel and transportation, will be deployed on an as-needed basis to augment the efforts and capabilities of local-response authorities."

The American Civil Liberties Union slammed the Border Patrol's decision. "By keeping checkpoints open, the Border Patrol is putting undocumented people and mixed-status families at risk out of fear of deportations," said Lorella Praeli, the director of immigration policy and campaigns. "This is a disgusting move from the Border Patrol that breaks with past practices. The Border Patrol should never keep checkpoints open during any natural disasters in the United States. Everyone, no matter the color of their skin or background, is worth saving."

Harvey will hit the coast the hardest, but potentially life-threatening flooding is expected through large swaths of Southeast Texas. Many colonias — defined by the Texas Office of the Secretary of State as "residential area[s] along the Texas-Mexico border that may lack some of the most basic living necessities, such as potable water and sewer systems, electricity, paved roads, and safe and sanitary housing" — are at risk.

The Tribune adds that "it wasn't immediately clear what could trigger a scale-back in [Border Patrol] enforcement, but the agency did say in its news release it would work to evacuate residents if called upon to do so." Read the full report here.