Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Border Patrol checkpoints are Constitutional?

The Border Patrol in Washington is burgeoning in the post-9/11 world. It's got more agents, better equipment, a new station -- and it's making a lot of arrests.

But it has also adopted a tactic that has raised both questions and ire: interior roadblocks dozens of miles from the nearest border.

Since the end of February, the U.S. Border Patrol has operated 53 roadblocks -- border agents call them "tactical traffic checkpoints" -- at the Anacortes ferry terminal, on state Route 20 near Newhalem and on U.S. Highway 101 on the Olympic Peninsula.

The statistics speak for themselves as to the effectiveness of the roadblocks:

81 undocumented immigrants taken into custody;

19 people turned over to other agencies for state crimes; and

24,524 vehicles carrying 41,912 passengers checked.

Out of 41,000+ ID checks, the haven't caught any "terrorists.

To the Border Patrol, the checkpoints are a testament to its efficacy in deterring terrorists, stopping drug smugglers and deporting undocumented immigrants. But others say the price of such enhanced security is a diminution of American liberty.

"How much are we willing to give up?" asks Lois Danks, coordinator of the Stop the Checkpoints Committee on the Olympic Peninsula. "Do we give up our freedom of movement and our privacy? If they stop thousands of people and catch 10 people who work in a Mexican restaurant, how much does that increase our security?"

Border Patrol Chief John Bates points out the checkpoints have been ruled constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court. And he says that his agents are simply carrying out their duties as defined by the law, which allows such checkpoints within 100 miles of the border. We run these checkpoints to have an impact on the organizations that bring in narcotics, undocumented immigrants or who potentially could bring terrorists or weapons of mass destruction into the U.S.," Bates said.

With organized narcotics and people-smuggling rings, "we are having an impact," said Bates, who said he has received intelligence reports confirming the checkpoints' deterrent value.

"These organizations do know about the checkpoints and that there is a heightened likelihood that they would be apprehended if they brought people or narcotics across the border."

The Border Patrol has been proactive in trying to explain the checkpoints to affected communities.

"We have a mission that we have to conduct," Bates said.

Bates and other agents heard from a largely disgruntled crowd of about 350 Olympic Peninsula residents at a recent meeting at Chimacum High School.

Supervisory Border Patrol Agent Michael Bermudez said the patrol sought to explain that the checkpoints provide "prevention through deterrence."

It was apparently a tough sell. "I wouldn't say it was a hostile crowd, but it was unsupportive of checkpoints. There were people there that no matter what we shared with them, they were not going to feel any different. But I'm sure there were people on the fence who might have been swayed."

Shankar Narayan, of the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington, was not swayed. "I would say the overwhelming energy in the room was a mood of great concern about the expansion of Border Patrol activities on the Peninsula," Narayan said. "The question in the air was, where does this encroachment on our rights end?"
Narayan said the ACLU is exploring the possibility of filing a lawsuit to stop them.

The Border Patrol is the largest uniformed agency charged with carrying out immigration laws. It is caught in the crossfire of people who oppose laws and policies that result in deportation of undocumented immigrants who are productive members of rural Washington communities.

Danks, for example, said she opposes deporting undocumented Mexicans who have been here for years, working hard and raising children who are American citizens.

The Washington Farm Bureau also has concerns about the roadblocks' impact on agricultural communities.

"We've got these workers and neighbors who are our friends," said Dan Fazio, director of employer services at the Farm Bureau. "At what point does it not feel like America anymore?"
Remember Benjamin Franklin Quote:

Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both."

Or the quote or George Orwell:

"If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.

But the question should be base on the facts; So Let's see if I have this right they stopped 25,000 plus vehicles and asked 41,000 plus people for their papers only to nab 100 people 19 of whom were citizens. The statistics speak for themselves as to the effectiveness of the roadblocks:"
That amounts to a .004 rate of efficiency
. This sounds like a big waste of time and money to me. The big problem I see with this is demanding 41,000 U.S. citizens for their papers. Sounds like Nazi Germany to me, Papers please. What happened to freedom of movement; There is a serious dilemma and I could argue either side.

I thought they were set up to catch "terrorists" - that's the original idea behind the roadblocks. It's Funny how the mission changes once they're set up for it.
I'm always amazed at how easy we give up our Constitutional rights to feel safe or because we have or are in fear

There was recently a post by the excellent Radley Balko on this very topic over at Reason's Hit & Run blog. The 190 Million exception to the fourth amendment includes a map showing the affected area. From the post:The ACLU says that since September 11, 2001, the government has been steadily stretching the limits of Martinez, to the point where the Department of Homeland Security is using that case and the terrorism threat to conduct more thorough, more invasive searches at dozens of checkpoints across the country. With 33 checkpoints now in operation, we're not exactly to the point of "Ihre Papiere, bitte" Berlin yet, but the ACLU does warn that the area of the country 100 miles from every border and coastline would include about 190 million people, or nearly two-thirds of the U.S. population


Anonymous said...

So you are saying that these checkpoints don't work?

Well, I looked around and in the last week these were just 2 of the articles I found that show they do work!
MURRIETA ---- U.S. Border Patrol agents seized $34,000 Monday that they suspect was connected with the sale of illegal narcotics, officials said.

About 2:30 p.m., agents stopped a Toyota Previa minivan traveling north on Interstate 15 near Murrieta, according to a news release.

Driving the van was a 39-year-old Mexican man illegally traveling in the United States, the release states.

With the assistance of a California Highway Patrol officer and a search dog, a plastic grocery bag filled with the money was found in the van's glove compartment.

Agents said the money smelled of marijuana.

Agents seized the money and the van and processed the man for deportation, officials said.

ESCONDIDO ---- A total of 33 citations were issued Monday during a driver's license checkpoint in the 3300 block of Bear Valley Parkway, police said.

A little more than 1,300 vehicles passed through the checkpoint, which ran from about 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., Lt. James Stuard said.

Of those vehicles, 43 were sent to a second screening area because the drivers could not immediately provide a valid driver's license, Stuard said.

Six drivers had a suspended license, 20 did not have a valid license and six drivers could not provide proof of automobile insurance, Stuard said.

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous" above is a fucking joke! And a Nazi. And you wonder why people say 'God Damn America" -- it's cause of shit like this. Everybody that has anything to do with these interior checkpoints is gonna burn in hell and rightly so. I hope their children do too. What a joke the INS, the Feds, and the Supreme Court are. Fools!!!

American First said...

Anonymous # 1 is a complete idiot...this is obviously not legal and not right. Anonymous # 2 is exactly right... to allow yourself to be stopped for no reason is in itself insanity. Who knows, maybe one day our children wont even have to drive to encounter these nazis - they will just come knocking on their doors. You dont answer and they'll kick it in... sound like the America you and your family wanna live in? I sure as hell dont. Heres a novel idea how about we stop these illegal aliens at the fn border so we aren't harassing TAX PAYING HARD WORKING AMERICAN CITIZENS whom by the way are footing the bill for these lazy ass checkpoint squatters. Now there are plenty of hard working BP's out there... but im specifically talking about the ones sitting 100 MILES FROM THE NEAREST FN BORDER HARASSING AMERICANS THAT PAY FOR THEIR WHOLE OPERATION!!! This sadly no longer feels like America. WHERE HAS OUR FREEDOM GONE? WE LET IT GO... It is really sad...

Anonymous said...

I also agree as an American those are just bogas, instead of using that money we waste on their buildings and payroll and all that other crap dog training and bs. if the government really cared about the people that live within its borders it would use that to optimize the border when people cross it and they should use that money for cancer treatment for kids and the homless and stuff like that instead of enabling these "officers" and allowing them to harrass us ive witnessed this from expierience i was driving thru the el paso checkpoint and had a long commute they never even looked at me but i have blue eyes and platinum blonde hair and harrassed my friend for looking mexican. who was an older lady who crosses that check point regularly i just dont understand why they would do that being Americans themselves i hope someday their funding runs out and they all find real jobs and someday i hope thy take their families on vacation, i hope that karma comes back to them so they will know what it feels like to try to get to their destination and be harrassed for no reason. And no they DONT work drugs will find theyre way in inevitably so long as their is a demand for them. And furthermore My Father was also deported for looking Mexican even though he was born in Juarez Mx his Father May he rest in peace was an American so if u know anything about these kinds of laws u know that he would be naturalized as an American citizen because his father lived in the US so i think we need to bring this stuff up to our congress and our state Goveners about this discriminating power hungry officials that use the guise of "its for your Pertection" NOT A SINGLE TERRORIST thats BS!!!!
Get a real job "Pah leese".