ACLU Criticizes Polk County Shelter ID Requirements

Sep 7, 2017

Hurricane Irma approaching Anguilla from NOAA's GOES-16 satellite.
Credit NOAA

The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida is deriding the Polk County Sheriff’s decision to check IDs for all evacuees seeking shelter in his county.

Sheriff Grady Judd announced the move in a series of tweets this week.  He justifies the requirement as a way to protect people from sex offenders, and the Miami Herald reports the move appears legal.  But ACLU executive director Howard Simon says now is not the time.

“Most outstanding warrants are for unpaid parking tickets,” Simon says, “and nobody should be forced to endanger themselves or their families in the face of this biggest natural disaster for god’s sake for an unpaid traffic ticket.”

In Houston, rumors of police asking for identification after Hurricane Harvey stoked fears among undocumented Texans.  

Sheriff Judd says the county jail is a secure shelter and he urges people with a warrant to turn themselves in.