Saturday, October 6, 2018

Checkpoint Nation?


Scott Olson/Getty Images  A Border Patrol agent checks vehicles for illegal immigrants and contraband at a roadside checkpoint June 1, 2010 near Sasabe, Arizona.

This report ("Checkpoint Nation: Border agents are expanding their reach into the country’s interior") by Melissa del Bosque looks at the expansion of activities away from the U.S. border of the enforcement activities of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP):

"CBP is the agency tasked with guarding America’s borders, as opposed to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which investigates, arrests, and deports undocumented people throughout the country. Over the past eighteen months, as resistance to President Trump’s immigration crackdown has grown, most of the criticism has been directed at ICE, whose interior enforcement mission often targets long-term residents without criminal records. Immigrant rights groups have begun a campaign to defund or abolish the agency. . . .  

[The criticism of ICE] applies to CBP as well. It turns out that the legal definition of `the border' is troublingly broad. Some 200 million people—nearly two thirds of all Americans—live within the `border zone,' which is defined by the Justice Department as the area up to a hundred air miles from any US land or coastal boundary. Nine of the country’s ten largest cities lie within the zone. It touches thirty-eight states and encompasses all of Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Rhode Island.

Within the border zone, Congress has granted CBP powers far beyond those of other law enforcement agencies. CBP, which largely consists of customs officers at ports of entry and Border Patrol agents who monitor the highways, has the authority to set up checkpoints almost anywhere within the hundred-mile zone, and to search and detain people without a warrant as long as they feel they have `probable cause' to suspect that someone is in the country illegally or smuggling contraband. The Fourth Amendment of the Constitution protects citizens from `unreasonable searches and seizures,' but CBP operates with wide discretion, often using alerts from dogs as a reason to pull people aside for secondary inspection. Within twenty-five miles of any border, Border Patrol agents have even more expansive powers; they can enter private land without a warrant or the owner’s permission."


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