Abusive DHS Behavior at Internal Immigration Checkpoints

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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.

While reading the account, keep in mind that the Supreme Court placed strict limitations on the scope of such checkpoints in 1976 in order to limit their intrusiveness:

…We have held that checkpoint searches are constitutional only if justified by consent or probable cause to search….And our holding today is limited to the type of stops described in this opinion. –[A]ny further detention…must be based on consent or probable cause.

Our prior cases have limited significantly the reach of this congressional authorization, requiring probable cause for any vehicle search in the interior and reasonable suspicion for inquiry stops by roving patrols. Our holding today, approving routine stops for brief questioning is confined to permanent checkpoints. We understand, of course, that neither longstanding congressional authorization nor widely prevailing practice justifies a constitutional violation” – U.S. v Martinez-Fuerte

Following Dave’s editorial appearing below, I provide additional information regarding Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s recent immigration sweeps in Guadalupe along with the involvement of Tucson Sector Border Patrol Union leadership.

Freedom’s Phoenix Editorial
Dave Hodges
January 8, 2009

To Terry and Other Like-Minded Americans.

I have been reading Terry’s excellent articles on the abusive behavior of many of federal officials as they man the roadblocks associated with border control.

Many of Terry’s articles accurately portray the mistreatment of American citizens at the hands of these “public servants.”

On January 3, 2009, at 11pm, while driving back from Yuma, on I-8, with my companion, I suffered the same indignity that Terry often speaks about.

I have been waived through this I-8 border checkpoint over a hundred times without incident and that appeared to be the case as I approached the checkpoint and was told to proceed by the agent on my side of the car only to screamed at to halt by the agent on the passenger side of the car.

I was told to pull over and exit the vehicle and to sit down. I asked what was the reason related to my detention. I was told to shut up. I was then told my vehicle was going to be searched and I asked what was the probable cause associated with the search. I was again told to shut up. I watched in horror as the drug dogs went through my car and in less than 10 seconds, it was over and I was told that I and my companion were free to go. I, again, repeated my question as to what the probable cause consisted of for my detention and warrantless search. I was told to “get while the gett’in was good.” At that point, my companion, Gil Lopez (an American teacher and a basketball coach) called me a “coyote” and told me to get into my car. It was at that moment that I realized my American friend of hispanic origin had been racially profiled and that was the true reason for our detention and illegal search even if the Border Patrol would not care to admit it.

Joe Arpaio may not work at this particular checkpoint on I-8, but his racially profiling spirit is alive and well and is clearly providing the guiding light among the Border Patrol personnel at this particular checkpoint. I can now more easily empathize with Americans in Guadalupe as, last summer, they were racially profiled by Sheriff Joe and his Gestapo tactics.

If the first casualty on the immigration problem is the United States Constitution, then we have already lost the war as well as many of our civil liberties, namely, the fourth and fifth amendments.

I have a new appreciation for Terry and the valuable service that he is providing by shining the light of day on this abuse of American citizens.

For more information regarding last year’s Guadalupe sweeps near Phoenix, Arizona, I’ve provided a link to a related article below:

Guadalupe made it clear that Joe Arpaio’s attacking anyone with brown skin

For those who don’t believe these misnomered ‘crime suppression sweeps’ weren’t about harassing immigrants, legal or otherwise, I’ve included entries recently appearing on the Local 2544 Border Patrol Union’s website (which have since been removed). In these entries, local union leadership first endorse Sheriff Arpaio for County Sheriff and then boast about personally attending Arpaio’s sweeps near Phoenix, AZ while meeting with Arpaio face to face. All the while claiming these operations and their involvement had nothing to do with rounding up immigrants.

Methinks they doth protest too much:

Local 2544 (Border Patrol Union) Endorses Joe Arpaio

05-01-08 “We have endorsed Joe Arpaio in his bid to be re-elected as the Maricopa County Sheriff. Buckeye Police Chief Dan Saban is running against Sheriff Arpaio. Saban is a very poor choice, for many reasons, and the police union in Buckeye voted to endorse Arpaio as well. Read the endorsement here.”

Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) Crime Suppression Sweeps:

06-25-08 “Local 2544 Executive Board Officers will attend parts of the upcoming crime suppression sweeps in Mesa.

We will not attend in an official capacity as Border Patrol agents. We will be there as civilian observers on our personal time.”

06-28-08 “Local 2544 President Edward Tuffly, Executive VP Brandon Judd, and Treasurer George McCubbin spent Thursday afternoon and much of Thursday night with Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Maricopa County deputies, who were engaged in a crime suppression sweep in Mesa, Arizona.

We met privately with Sheriff Arpaio and his two top commanders. We stood with Sheriff Arpaio during his press conference to show our support for what he and his deputies were attempting to accomplish. Sheriff Arpaio introduced Tuffly and PLEA President Mark Spencer at the beginning of the press conference and thanked us for being there. We then accompanied MCSO detectives and deputies during the enforcement action in Mesa. We will post a full report here soon. We wanted to see for ourselves what was going on with the MCSO crime suppression sweeps. We will plainly tell you up front that what we found is not even remotely close to what most in the media are reporting. More to follow.”

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