We’re told that we have a right to remain silent. How ironic it is that these days we get arrested for doing just that – remaining silent.
These particular checkpoints are run by the Border Patrol, but they’re nowhere near the Mexico-U.S. border. They’re within 100 miles of the border. So, the people they end up stopping and harassing are just ordinary American citizens. When they’re stopped, a border agent will ask them if they’re U.S. citizens, where they were born, where they’re coming from, where they’re going, whether they have any contraband in the car. They’ll sometimes want to search the vehicle.
Obviously, these checkpoints are totally illegal, in direct violation of the 4th Amendment. These aren’t the checkpoints they put on the actual border. They’re way inside the border. There’s no justification for them.
A growing number of Americans are refusing to play the game. They’ll come through the checkpoint and record their encounters with border agents. Most of the time, the encounters don’t end well.
Here’s a playlist of three such encounters. The first video begins around 6:30, so you can skip ahead to that point. It’s a little lengthy, but worth the watch (the third video is my favorite):
No drugs or would-be immigrants were hidden in the sedan that rolled up to a Border Patrol checkpoint on a Southern California highway last week, but within 90 seconds the driver was handcuffed.
His 4-year-old boy was crying. And a video camera mounted on the car’s dashboard captured the moment. The motorist had said he was an American but told the agent he did not have to say where he was going, would not consent to a search of his trunk and would not move his car.
“You brought this on yourself, buddy,” an agent says as he is led away.
Another traveler came through a similar checkpoint in El Paso this month, also with a video camera rolling.
He, too, challenged the agent, saying he would not answer questions. After a few seconds he was curtly told, “Get out of here.”
These travelers are among the latest to join what appears to be an informal alliance of people, possibly into the hundreds, recording their encounters at Border Patrol checkpoints that are not at international ports of entry but instead on the many roads located within 100 miles of borders and coasts and that connect the regions with the rest of the nation. There are 34 such permanent checkpoints along the 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border.
“You brought this on yourself?” Isn’t that what a rapist might say to his victim?
Right now, these checkpoints are limited to within 100 miles of the border. Maybe they’ll decide to move it to within 500 miles of the border. What’s to stop them from putting these “border” checkpoints across the entire nation? They could claim that they’re only trying to keep terrorists and drug dealers out, particularly those who were able to sneak across the border.
In order to get through these checkpoints successfully, you have to act as if you’re dealing with kidnappers and carjackers. As long as you cooperate with them and give in to their demands, they’ll let you go. Temporarily anyway.