Border laws kill.
In a recent post, Stentor does a good job of explaining one of the (many) reasons why.
Second [of a couple immigration-related stories] is Border Patrol’s declaration and half-hearted not-quite-retraction of a policy of checking immigration status during natural disaster evacuations. The result is to make many Latin@s — including those with legal status up to natural-born citizen — reluctant to evacuate, either because they fear consequences for themselves (if I flee my house without my passport, I still have my skin and my accent, but others don’t have those advantages), or because of the consequences for their family and community members. So not only are people being unnecessarily exposed to natural disasters, they’re also being set up so they can be blamed forchoosingto stay behind a la the poor black non-evacuees during Katrina. This links in to the sanctuary cities and Sheriff Joe issue in terms of making every occasion an occasion for checking people’s status, regardless of whether such singleminded focus on immigration enforcement undermines the government’s other duties. It also reveals an important aspect of disaster management — disasters intensify people’s interactions with the State. Complying with disaster management plans puts you in direct contact with police, the national guard, and other direct agents of state coercion, whereas failure to comply puts you wholly outside their protection (or even in direct opposition to them, as a possible looter). This would be fine, even beneficial, if you are on good terms with the state — if you trust it to be acting in your best interests. For people who have a longstanding antagonistic relationships with the state, however — such as people of color and immigrants — natural disasters are a prime occasion for the state to increase its pernicious interference. And all of this applies not just to the immediate disaster management (evacuation, etc.) but also to the longer-term recovery process.