Seven things shouldn't do after Hurricane Harvey

4) Throttle entry and exit from the storm zone by keeping immigration checkpoints open. Nothing is classier than having the Border Patrol asking people who have just lost everything—including their important papers—for their papers, please.

5) Insist on managing housing for the displaced. After storms, Americans look for ways to reach out and help. Many would open their homes to people who need a place to stay. Private charities can help broker these placements, as they do now for international refugees.

6) Let bureaucracy stand in the way of communities rebuilding on their own. After a storm, getting schools and hospitals up and running requires speed. That means waiving bureaucratic requirements. Requiring citizens to push paper in order to get their communities functioning again is wasteful even in non-crisis situations, but can be especially painful for cities whose infrastructure has washed away.