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Border Patrol to keep checkpoints open during Hurricane Harvey

Although this doesn't take place in Rhode Island, if you're considering heading to Texas to help with the hurricane's damage or to try to find your loved ones, it may apply to you. The Border Patrol has stated that checkpoints will remain active while Hurricane Harvey is present in the state, even though it could put lives at risk.

People who disagree with the Border Patrol's decision state that it is because having checkpoints may make those who are in the United States illegally too scared to leave the state despite the risks of the hurricane. They may fear deportation, so they won't leave their homes despite rising waters and a heavy risk of injury or death.

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has stated that it will not close checkpoints unless there is a danger to the public or agents. The checkpoints are set up as far as 100 miles north of the border. Many people living between the border and those checkpoints don't head north because of the fear of being caught. The storm threatens the area where these individuals live, but many may not get out in time or at all due to the checkpoints.

In 2016, Hurricane Matthew hit the area. At that time, the checkpoints shut down, stating that it was important to complete evacuations and sheltering first. A new statement from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and CBP sounds similar, but also includes a note that they will be looking for criminal activity and enforcing the law. Fortunately, those who are not criminals should not face enforcement during this time.

Source: Rhode Island Public Radio, "Border Patrol Says Checkpoints Will Remain Open During Hurricane Harvey," Joel Rose, Aug. 25, 2017

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