The American Civil Liberties Union requested that Texas Border Patrol agents shut down illegal immigration checkpoints on Friday as Hurricane Harvey bears down on the state.
The director of immigration policy for the ACLU, Lorella Praeli, wrote in a statement, “By keeping checkpoints open, the Border Patrol is putting undocumented people and mixed-status families at risk out of fear of deportations.”
The Washington Times notes that in previous years, these checkpoints have been suspended, but not this year, said the agency:
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 Border Patrol is a law enforcement agency and we will not abandon our law enforcement duties.
Roberto Rodriguez, a public affairs official for the Border Patrol clarified, “We’re not going to impede anybody getting out of here, but at the same time we’re a law enforcement agency, so we still have to conduct our duties.”
The ACLU admonished the statement, saying safety is the number one priority.
“Everyone, no matter the color of their skin or background, is worth saving,” Praeli added.
The ACLU said the decision, which is to uphold the law of the land come rain or shine, “Sends a wrong message.”