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KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) Katharine O'Moore Klopf

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Yet Another Way to Harass Undocumented Immigrants

Who gives a damn about the value of human life, especially that of Latinos? Apparently not the U.S. Customs and Border Protection down in Texas.

The Rio Grande Guardian has reported that the next time a hurricane aimed at Texas comes roaring in, the border patrol is going to screen evacuees leaving by bus to see if they are U.S. citizens. No papers, no bus. Hurricane season starts June 1 in Texas. If you were an undocumented immigrant and you had to choose between the certainty of imprisonment—and separation from family members—and the possibility of surviving a hurricane, which would you pick?

I guess the border patrol employees won't find it hard to sleep nights despite knowing that they're responsible for a lot of deaths.

Updated 5/22/08, at 12:49 p.m.: Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff now says that documentation checks won't occur in the face of a hurricane-mandated evacuation: "In the event of an emergency, and the need for an evacuation, priority number one 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."

Well, that sounds good, but given the Bush administration's propensity for lying, I'm not inclined to take Chertoff at his word.


Betsy Davenport said...

I have been cataloguing such things happening around the nation. They are many: rounding up 900-plus in California, 400-plus in Iowa.

Sometimes I feel like Madame DeFarge, whose unremitting knitting put names of guillotine-bound prisoners in her shrouds.

I lived in Mexico many years ago, in a remote rural village where the Indian culture and language still prevailed. One young man at that time going to the US for a few months could earn enough to return and change his family's fortunes forever. He could buy a cow, improve his family's nutrition, sell the surplus milk and have some cash to invest in whatever enterprise he chose.

It's hard for me to be against that, particularly when US policies are a significant factor in the whole scene. You don't dump cheap corn on a country where corn is a staple, because it is no longer reasonable to grow one's own, and that changes everything.

(Am I using up too much room, here?)

Katharine O'Moore-Klopf said...

Ms. Matters, I like the way you think.

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