After a recent abusive experience at an internal Homeland Security checkpoint along I-8 in the Yuma Border Patrol Sector, Freedom’s Phoenix editor David Hodges recounts his experience below.
In May of 2008, I highlighted an article regarding the use of Border Patrol checkpoints at domestic ferry’s off the coast of Washington State. More recently, I’ve highlighted the continued expansion of Border Patrol activities into Washington State with so-called tactical checkpoints along public highways no where near the border along with the ensuing uproar from local residents adversely affected by such police state actions.
Given my own experiences with Homeland Security agents who are more than willing to shake down the traveling public absent suspicion while hiding behind their guns and badges, the following excerpt from the linked article struck a cord with me:
It would appear that Customs & Border Protection agents are now randomly stopping Amtrak trains within 100 miles of an external border and questioning/searching passengers absent consent or probable cause.
“You’re traveling by train. Suddenly, it slows and comes to an unscheduled stop. Armed, uniformed men come aboard with dogs. They question passengers, search luggage and remove one of your fellow travelers for further interrogation. Is this some Cold War-era movie? Nope. It’s New Year’s Eve on an Amtrak train in California”.
The rest of the article is available here.
The forum was prompted by widespread concern in Jefferson County regarding the use of suspicionless checkpoints by Border Patrol agents operating no where near the border. The forum consisted of Blaine Sector Border Patrol Chief John Bates and sector mouthpiece Michael Bermudez along with local law enforcement officials and two immigration defense attorneys.
Over 400 local residents attended the forum and from the sound of things, very few were satisfied with the answers to their questions. Of particular note was the refusal of the Jefferson County Sheriff to assist the Border Patrol with identifying or charging individuals who refuse to provide ID or respond to investigatory questions posed to them by agents at such roadblocks:
U.S. Border Patrol Chief John Bates — who is the chief patrol agent for the Blaine Sector, which includes the North Olympic Peninsula — was asked by one person in the audience that was crammed into the Chimacum High School auditorium what would happen if a driver refused to give identification to a federal agent at a roadblock.
Bates said he would have to involve the Sheriff’s Office.
Jefferson County Sheriff Mike Brasfield said his office would not respond.
“I’m sorry, but we would not get involved,” Brasfield said to Bates.
“We do not have any rights to issue an infraction in that situation.”