The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) issued a statement on Thursday demanding U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) to shut down its checkpoints during Hurricane Harvey in order to allow illegal immigrant families to travel freely, a demand that the agency has summarily refused.
Taking to Twitter, the ACLU â€“ which claims on its website to â€śdefend and preserve the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and the laws of the United States guarantee everyone in this countryâ€ť â€“ scolded Texas for choosing to keep the highway checkpoints open.
â€śTexas is refusing to close Customs and Border Patrol checkpoints during #HurricaneHarvey, putting undocumented families in grave danger,â€ť the tweet reads.
â€śAs people seek refuge from hurricane Harvey, they are likely to have to go north or west of Texas and would have to go through a checkpoint,â€ť explained Lorella Praeli, ACLU director of immigration policy and campaigns. â€śBy keeping checkpoints open, the Border Patrol is putting undocumented people and mixed-status families at risk out of fear of deportations.â€ť
In response, CBP declared that the checkpoints would remain open and emphasized its mission.
â€śThe Border Patrol is a law enforcement agency and we will not abandon our law enforcement duties,â€ť CBP officials said in a statement obtained by Breitbart Texas. â€śIf there is a time when we have to unite with our emergency preparedness partners to evacuate community members, we assure you that we will act quickly ensuring that the safety of those requiring evacuation remains paramount.â€ť
Hurricane Harvey has officially strengthened to a Category 3 storm and will make landfall on Friday evening, with sustained winds reaching a staggering 125 mph. The storm is expected to be the worst to hit Texas in roughly two decades, ABC News reported.
Many residents in the hurricaneâ€™s path have stocked up on food, water, and gasoline, while others have abandoned the area entirely, boarding up the doors and windows of their homes and businesses.
So far, upwards of 31,000 residents near Corpus Christi and Aransas Pass have lost power, with power companies indicating that they will not begin restoration efforts until after the storm passes â€“ even though it is expected to stall in the area for several days.