President Trump came under withering fire from Democrats for having used the furor surrounding Hurricane Harvey to cover up pardoning Joe Arpaio on Friday. This does keep one of his staunchest political allies out of jail and energizes his conservative base, which supports both men’s hard-line views on illegal immigration. But virtually everyone else is disgusted completely. The ACLU protested the pardon immediately, calling it a “presidential endorsement of racism.”
The pardon was issued very quietly, while all eyes in America were turned toward the coast of Texas. It’s a disgrace beyond any description. For the president himself to be so low, so cowardly, as to use a natural disaster as a tool. And what a tool. Its purpose is to help him obfuscate his sneaking through this insulting and ugly pardon. It ranks as one of the most disgusting displays of brazen callousness to be found anywhere in all of human history. And, he got caught. The story of this pardon promptly created a political hurricane to go with the real ones. It’s a disaster atop a disaster. Trump is not prepared, and not taking this seriously.
Another potentially terrible tragedy relating to immigration has manifested right alongside Hurricane Harvey. The hurricane has made landfall on eastern Texas, and is impacting the state’s coastal areas from the lower tip until Louisiana.
Thousands of people are evacuating along the state’s major highways. Winds have exceeded 130 mph in some places and cataclysmic flooding is going on as well. Several people have been injured already. Evacuation routes from the coast were already showing heavy traffic on Friday afternoon, and tornadoes are expected to form by the dozens throughout the area. Should anyone need information as to where those evacuation routes are, they can take a look at this list of them.
In a move destined to go down in history as one of the most nauseatingly stupid decisions ever made, Border Patrol checkpoints will stay open as the storm approaches, the Customs and Border Protection agency said Friday.
Several of these evacuation routes go right through these checkpoints, including one on Route 44 in Corpus Christi and another on Route 35 heading up to San Antonio:
Civil rights activists were quick to strongly protest the incredible cruelty of this new policy. In addition to this, it is the opinion of Millennial Democrats that this will make for a logistical nightmare of epic dimension. Tens of thousands will end up bottlenecking behind checkpoints, waiting for the verification of tens of thousands of papers. It seems inevitable to result in avoidable misery, maybe even some fatality.
Furthermore, what to do with those rounded up by this massive dragnet of the storm? To prevent their arrestees from simply walking away, the authorities would have to prepare to detain most immigrants awaiting deportation. Existing facilities would have to be expanded overnight to hold hundreds of thousands. How ironic, if those dreaded FEMA camps the alt-right was convinced Obama- whose administrative leftovers are the ones in charge of dealing with the hurricane, while Trump is off at Camp David- was planning to lock us all up in, did in fact become prisons, under his successor.
In any foreseeable scenario, this kind of project would take time, and during natural disasters, there tends to be no time to lose. As with Katrina, this is the end of the month. People are out of money and afraid already. Many refused to leave their homes in New Orleans because they lacked even the money for bus or monorail fare. George W. Bush left the poor high and dry.
The process Trump is proposing will create a task that would take a good deal of planning out under the best of circumstances, let alone thrown together slap-dash during a hurricane. The men who secure our borders are brave and tough Americans, but they are woefully underprepared for this. It also seems likely that some families with illegal immigrant members will choose not to evacuate the storm zone, preferring rather to chance it with both family and freedom intact.
“This is a disgusting move from the Border Patrol that breaks with past practices,” American Civil Liberties Union director of immigration policy and campaigns Lorella Praeli said. “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.
We stand in solidarity with our Hispanic countrymen, and are outraged with them at what is going on. In this country, we’ve got a no-man-left-behind policy. In the face of hell and high water, we Democrats will resolutely hold out our hands to those who need our help. Be they friend or foe, our prayers and hearts are with them. We are countrymen, and fellow persons. We will do what good we can, when we can.