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US Border Patrol won't let Hurricane Harvey affect security checkpoints — and the ACLU is livid

U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Friday that it will not close security checkpoints located north of the U.S.-Mexico border, prompting outrage from the ACLU. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The U.S. Border Patrol announced Friday that it will not close security checkpoints located just north of the U.S.-Mexico border, even as thousands of people, make their way north to get away from Hurricane Harvey's high force winds and torrential rainfall.

“We’re not going to impede anybody getting out of here, but at the same time, we’re a law enforcement agency, so we still have to conduct our duties,” Customs and Border Patrol public affairs officer Roberto Rodriguez said, according to the Texas Tribune.

As Townhall's Cortney O'Brien noted, the Border Patrol has closed such checkpoints in the past because of severe weather.

The security checkpoints in question are different from the multiple border crossing sites from Mexico into the U.S., which will remain open. The Washington Times reported that such security checkpoints north of the border require drivers to stop and be questioned by federal agents in an effort to ensure that they are in the country legally.

The most recent example of the Border Patrol, together with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, closing security checkpoints was just last year, as Hurricane Matthew slammed the southeast region of the country. Before that, CPB and ICE closed the checkpoints in 2012 leading up to Hurricane Isaac making landfall.

The decision to keep security checkpoints open as Harvey approaches the Texas coast, however, was met with harsh criticism from the ACLU.

Lorella Praeli, director of immigration policy at the ACLU, said in a statement that the CPB is "putting undocumented people and mixed-status families at risk out of fear of deportations" by keeping security checkpoints open.

“This is a disgusting move from the Border Patrol that breaks with past practices. 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,” Praeli said.

Astrid Dominguez, a policy strategist for the civil rights organization, said “safety should be a priority regardless of immigration status."

"It is unconscionable that the Border Patrol is sending a dangerous, wrong message to our community by refusing to temporarily suspend immigration enforcement during an evacuation, as they did in 2016 and 2012," Praeli said.

The ACLU tweeted about the CPB's decision Friday, saying that it puts "undocumented families in grave danger."

In a separate tweet, the ACLU further called the move "disgusting."

It was not immediately clear whether President Donald Trump, who has taken a hardline stance on immigration, was directly involved in the discussions that led to the decision to keep security checkpoints open.

A White House spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment from TheBlaze on Friday. During a news briefing on Friday, Tom Bossert, Trump's homeland security adviser, told reporters that people shouldn't be fearful of going to a shelter and receiving food and water."

"That's not a problem," Bossert added.

Trump left the White House Friday afternoon with first lady Melania Trump and his youngest son, Barron Trump. The family will spend the weekend at Camp David. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Friday that the president plans to visit Texas sometime next week.

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