Border Harassment

| Thu May 29, 2008 3:54 PM EDT

On May 11, the Rio Grande Guardian reported that customs agents in the Rio Grande Valley have devised a plan to check the documents of evacuees who attempt to board evacuation buses in the event of a hurricane.

The article [no link] reads:

Anyone who is not a citizen or is not a legal resident will be held in specially designed areas in the Valley that are 'made to withstand hurricanes' said Dan Doty, a Border Patrol spokesperson for the Valley sector.

When the weather clears, of course, they'll be deported.

This incident--and with several other examples of the threat the national security state poses to civil liberties--have come to the attention of Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), who chairs the House Judiciary committee. On Friday, he brought the issue up before the Congress: "[T]he Border Patrol [has] said that they have reassessed the policy in light of last week's exercise. They told us that [their] 'primary role in such events will be the safeguarding of life. No enforcement role will be undertaken that will in any way impede the safe and orderly evacuation of any member of the south Texas population.'"

That's a slightly different tune. And unfortunately, we may only learn the Border Patrol's true intentions when a real disaster strikes.

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