Friday, May 16, 2008

Can't Evacuate Unless You've Got Your Papers

If the nation hasn't already bottomed out on vicious stupidity, surely we're getting close.

This from the Rio Grande Guardian via Latina Lista over on Sanctuary:

McALLEN, May 14 - If a hurricane hits the Rio Grande Valley this season, residents evacuated via school buses will be prescreened for citizenship by Customs and Border Patrol.

Hurricane season starts June 1. In the event of a hurricane in the region, emergency officials predict more than 130,000 evacuees will leave the Valley by school bus. They will be checked for identification and citizenship before they can board.

Anyone who is not a citizen or is not a legal resident will be held in specially designed areas in the Valley that are “made to withstand hurricanes,” said Dan Doty, a Border Patrol spokesperson for the Valley sector.

Those specially designed areas include the Border Patrol facilities in Edinburg and Harlingen, Doty said.
Officials are so proud of this policy that news photographers were banned from shooting a drill:
Border Patrol agents could be seen checking the identification and citizenship of the mock evacuees, many of whom were senior citizens from the Las Palmas Community Center. After Guardian reporter started taking pictures of this part of the exercise, he was asked to stop and leave the area.
Some random thoughts occur.

Now that everybody knows that ICE will detain anybody (brown and black) who lacks proof of citizenship or required immigration papers, we also know that (brown and black) men, women, children, and babies lured across the border by corrupt agribusinesses (etc.) will try to ride out the storms in their brand-new hurricane-proof residences. Or maybe down at the Piggly Wiggly.

We saw what happened when residents in New Orleans and on the Gulf Coast tried. (CNN is casing Edinburg for potential good angles even as we speak.)

We know humans and CEOs delay evacuation as long as possible, in denial and to preserve as much capital of the $$$ kind as possible. So we know that these school buses won't be loading three days ahead of squall lines. They'll wait til the last second.

We know from our local hyenas here in Arizona that wingnuts aren't actually satisfied with drivers' licenses or Mexican consul documents. They prefer verified, validated proof of citizenship and immigration status, whatever that may mean. Then. To that particular ICE agent. There. If they've decided.

And since it's not easy for people with low incomes to get passports and birth certificates and notary stamps and whatnot, we know a lot of folks who live in the Rio Grande Valley legally will also be denied access to evacuation.

Mini-Tutorial for the Middle+ Classes: People on way low incomes don't have any money to spend on family photos. They also don't have Internet access so they aren't always right up to speed on regulatory changes, and most crash, exhausted, before they can read the paper they don't subscribe to or turn on the TV they can't afford.

Many don't even have cars and if they do, gas costs what, an hour's wages a gallon? What's a round-trip to the nearest approved vendor of verified ID going to cost? Passports aren't available in just every little bug-tussle town, you know. And only God knows where to get verified, validated ID.

Immigrant agriculture workers -- or OK, 99.5% of them -- just weren't born in Middleclassville where conventional wisdom is breathed in with the baby powder for generations, and where people just come up knowing how to get official stuff taken care of. It's not like that for poor people. It's especially not like that for the people doing the hard work at the Del Monte subcontractor's Pik and Pak Paradise.

The bureaucracy is even confusing and intimidating for Tom Tancredo and Russell Pearce, so we know it's not a matter of native wit.
Now get this:
Officials are shooting for a tentative 30-minute window from arrival at an emergency holding post, through processing, and to final evacuation by bus. Each bus would carry about 50 to 60 people, according to Health Department officials.

“The initial questions are to determine whether the people can handle a five to 12 hour bus ride or vehicle ride of some type, and if they can handle that then the military will evacuate them on school buses to make sure they follow through with that,” said Hidalgo County Health Director Eddie Olivarez.

“If a person is not able to handle a five to 12 hour vehicle ride, then the military personnel will asses them medically, and then will assign ambulance or specially designed buses.” [Emphasis added throughout]
Yeah. Right.

I don't have the second sight, but I'm not stupid.

Just stop a sec and think how this will pan out. Thirty minutes from arrival to departure? That doesn't happen at your local high school on a sunny day.

I'm seeing logjams and screaming families in all colors, rain slashing on paperwork and wind snatching green cards, and folks in wheelchairs and folks not quite up to speed in English, and everybody one semi-second from all-out panic. And that's not even counting the angry and frustrated Border guards.

And now remember the cluster-duck that was mandatory evacuation from Houston and Galveston, where everybody sat on the INTERSTATE until their cars overheated or ran out of gas. But:
Highway 281 is the designated hurricane evacuation route and the Border Patrol checkpoint for the highway is at Falfurrias, in Brooks County.
Just how many school buses and "vehicles" does it take to haul 130,000 people? At 60 per, I get 2,166. These aren't interstates and there's a border patrol checkpoint up the road?

A 5 to 12-hour ride? On whose Bat Mobile?

Surely this is a leak intended to drive (brown and black) people out of the Rio Grande Valley from sheer revulsion well ahead of any hurricanes. Surely it isn't serious public policy.

Surely we haven't sunk to this level of depravity. For this is a racist, class war recipe for extermination-by-nature. And where oh where have we seen that before.

Just think of all the real estate that will be ready for GOP developers! There's a link beside the story on the Rio Grande Guardian touting the growth in McAllen, TX. If you don't think this could happen, read The Shock Doctrine.