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ACLU: Border Patrol is putting 'undocumented immigrants' in danger during Hurricane Harvey

The American Civil Liberties Union believes the Border Patrol is putting illegal aliens in danger by keeping border checkpoints open. (Sandy Huffaker/AFP/Getty Images)

Update: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the checkpoints were "along the Texas-Mexico border" instead of "north of the border."

The United States Border Patrol on Friday made an announcement saying checkpoints north of the Texas-Mexico border will remain open, despite Hurricane Harvey making landfall.

“Border Patrol checkpoints will not be closed unless there is a danger to the safety of the traveling public and our agents. Border Patrol resources, including personnel and transportation, will be deployed on an as needed basis to augment the efforts and capabilities of local-response authorities,” the agency said in a statement, the Texas Tribune reported.

Checkpoints that fall in Hurricane Harvey's path will close as highways close, the agency said. All checkpoints outside of the hurricane's path will remain open.

Shortly after, the American Civil Liberties Union released a statement criticizing the Border Patrol's decision.

“As 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. By keeping checkpoints open, the Border Patrol is putting undocumented people and mixed-status families at risk out of fear of deportations," Lorella Praeli, ACLU's director of immigration policy and campaigns, said. “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.”

ACLU of Texas policy strategist Astrid Dominguez said she remains hopeful that enforcement will ease up as the hurricane intensifies, which was done in the past.

Border enforcement eased up in 2016 when Hurricane Matthew hit. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protection eased up their border enforcement during evacuations, the Texas Tribune reported.

ICE and CBP released a joint statement on Friday saying their "highest priorities are to promote life-saving and life-sustaining activities, the safe evacuation of people who are leaving the impacted area, the maintenance of public order, the prevention of the loss of property to the extent possible, and the speedy recovery of the region."

Both agencies said they are remaining "vigilant against any effort by criminals to exploit disruptions caused by the storm.

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