Hurricanes and Border Patrol

Hurricane season began on June 1st. Weather forecasters are predicting an “above average” season, with as many as ten hurricanes making landfall somewhere.

The Rio Grande Valley, where a million of us live, is not a valley but a flood plain. None of the 180,000 of us that live in Brownsville have homes that are much more than thirty feet above sea level.

Hurricane season makes us nervous.

I have a friend who is an American citizen. Three years ago, her father came to Brownsville from Mexico on a six month tourist visa. She soon saw that he was developing dementia, and would not let him go back to his little ranch in Mexico, as there would be no one to care for him. Good daughter that she was, she set him up in a small room at the back of the house and she began to take care of him.

Her house is in a low-lying part of town (twenty feet above sea level) and would flood in a hurricane. This worries her because she is not sure that she would evacuate in the case of a storm. She was watching the news the other day, and saw that the Border Patrol had made it clear that they would run enforcement procedures, even during a storm evacuation. This means that at the checkpoint that lies 100 miles up the road (when you drive north from the Valley, the Border Patrol stops every vehicle and asks for citizenship documents and can, if they want, search your car), they would discover that her father was in the country illegally and could separate him from the rest of the family.

So my friend, the good mother, sits and frets. And she pays especially close attention to the daily weather report.


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