Innocent Families in wake of hurricanes Irma and Harvey were given choices: Stay and risk your families lives with the wrath of the hurricanes or face interrogation, detention and deportation.
How inhumane can our government be? I’m shocked and saddened by the uncaring, cruel and downright dangerous behavior of our country’s police. A category five hurricane will hit Florida and people need to find a safe shelter for their families. But the police publicly announced that will be checking people as they arrive to shelters for outstanding warrents.
They need help not threats and more fear of harm. In Texas, last week it was border patrols checking vehicles leaving via evacuation routes.
Over 50 inches of rain and rushing water flooded Houston and surrounding areas. Innocent people; women, children, and men are homeless, without food, water, health care. Isn’t a natural disaster, which is predicted to take away everything the families owns and values, enough pain and suffering? Do we also have to harass those trying to escape to higher ground because of the color of their skin or harass those seeking shelter by forcing them to stand in line to prove they are legal or don’t have a warrant out against them.
What ever happened to America’s humanity, compassion and kindness?
Five years ago, when tropical Storm Sandy hit New York City, immigration enforcement announced that the highest priority was promoting “life saving and life promoting activities, the safe evacuation of people who are leaving the impacted area, and the maintenance of public order, not checking immigration status. Neither the New York or New Jersey police were stopping people at shelters to be sure they don’t have an outstanding warrant.
As Hurricane Irma approaches Florida, a sheriff in Poke County, announced on Wednesday that law enforcement authorities would check the identities of people who turn up at shelters and take to jail anyone found to have an active arrest warrant. “If you go to a shelter for Irma and you have a warrant, we’ll gladly escort you to the safe and secure shelter called the Polk County Jail,” announced sheriff Grady Judd, of Polk County.
When Hurricane Harvey was approaching Corpus Christi, TX the Border Patrol kept their check points open: causing extreme traffic, endangering drivers, and potentially making people who need to evacuate decide to stay behind in the storm out of fear of interaction and interrogation.
I’ve worked with communities across Texas, Louisiana and Florida. Families living in Corpus Christi are at the fence line of Refinery Row, miles of petroleum refineries. Every day they live in fear not of deportation or going to jail for a bad deed they did, but fear of cancer, asthma and disease from exposures to air pollution. Where are the police then? The pollution police, at the federal or state levels do almost no enforcement after receiving calls after calls for help because young children and the elderly can’t breathe. Families live there are mostly Latino and African Americans who settled there decades ago because the city would not allow them to live in other neighborhoods.
Corporations get away with the poisoning of innocent families every single day. It’s about time that our racist enforcement agencies start going after the real criminals, corporate polluters. Instead of border patrols for evacuation routes there should be border patrols for air pollution beyond the corporate fence line.
Instead of looking for those individuals at shelters that have an outstanding warrant against them, police should start issuing warrants for CEOs of corporate polluters responsible for harming innocent children’s lungs, neurological systems and their abilities to learn and succeed.
It’s time our country’s police went after the real corporate criminals, they come dressed in suits, carry briefcases and use their private planes to escape danger like we’ve seen in Harvey and Irma.
By Hunter Marion. Nestled between the slow, muddy waters of the Trinity River and the noisy I-45, sits Joppa, TX. Pronounced “Joppee” by locals, Joppa