Originally published February 6 2015
Two-thirds of Americans live in "Constitution-free border zones" where government can deny citizens' rights
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) The Obama Administration's decision to evoke "prosecutorial discretion" and not deport or otherwise detain people who are in the United States illegally -- and allow them to continue moving away from border regions to the interior of the country -- has created an unintended consequence for American citizens: A U.S. Border Patrol that is becoming more active further away from U.S. boundaries, particularly with Mexico.
As reported by OffGridSurvival.com, as much of the country has debated the issue of illegal immigration as it pertains to border security and the "rights" of illegal immigrants, federal officials have quietly begun establishing Border Patrol checkpoints as far inland as 60 miles. And while some may see that as a good thing, "they may have second thoughts once they learn who the Border Patrol is actually targeting," the website reported.
Continuing, the site noted:
Over the last decade, the United States Border Patrol have been moved from patrolling the borders, to patrolling the interior of the country; setting up some 170 internal traffic checkpoints, as deep as 60 miles inside the United States border. While the U.S. Government claims these checkpoints are meant to deter illegal immigration, the majority of the people caught up in these checkpoints are U.S. Citizens.
It's a problem that is certainly on the radar screens of some of the nation's civil rights groups, like the American Civil Liberties Union, which notes the broad scope of such checkpoints on the organization's website:
Even in places far removed from the border, deep into the interior of the country, immigration officials enjoy broad--though not limitless--powers. Specifically, federal regulations give U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) authority to operate within 100 miles of any U.S. "external boundary."
Two-thirds of Americans are subject to checkpoints
Not every American has willingly gone along with the checkpoints. One of them is long-haul trucker Greg Rosenberg, a naturalized citizen and Armenian native who grew tired of having to routinely deal with the checkpoints, in the normal course of simply trying to do his job.
One night, recently, while hauling a load of Xerox copy machines bound for Fort Worth, Texas, Rosenberg was met by another checkpoint some 29 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border. He decided that he had had enough and refused to submit to the checkpoint; as a result, he was detained for 19 days. In a video produced by Reason TV, you can see his story and the story of others who have resisted Border Patrol checkpoints here.
The ACLU has calculated that roughly two-thirds of the U.S. population lives within the 100-mile exclusion zone (that's 100 miles away from every U.S. boundary -- the borders with Mexico and Canada, as well as the Pacific and Atlantic coastlines).
"I have a right not to answer"
The Border Patrol, according to Reason TV, is constitutionally permitted to operate checkpoints some distance away from U.S. boundaries, and the Fourth Amendment does not prohibit brief questioning of drivers by agents. But there is a catch.
"The Border Patrol's routine stopping of a vehicle at a permanent checkpoint located on a major highway away from the Mexican border for brief questioning of the vehicles occupants is consistent with the Fourth Amendment," the Supreme Court ruled in United States v. Martinez-Fuerte -- the case cited by agents who eventually detained Rosenberg.
The high ruling went on to say that "checkpoint searches are constitutional only if justified by consent or probable cause to search... any further detention must be based on consent or probable cause." In a video of his arrest, Rosenberg is seen and heard telling agents that they indeed have a right to ask him questions but that he is under no obligation, legally or otherwise, to answer them.
After holding him for 19 days, the government released him without filing a single charge. He has since retained an attorney and is suing the federal government for false imprisonment and civil rights violations.
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