This morning, I came across the following disturbing letter to the editor posted to Freedom’s Phoenix that I thought I’d share with you.
Many folks claim that internal Border Patrol checkpoints are no big deal because they only involve a brief citizenship query. While I have repeatedly debunked this claim, the letter below does a great job in showing how quickly questioning at such checkpoints can escalate well outside the scope of brief immigration queries.
The photo of the billboard sign asking readers if they have approved travel documents to get home is also quite disturbing (taken by the author of the letter below). First, the sign is located inside the country, not at the border or a port of entry. Second, the sign refers to getting home as opposed to crossing the border or entering the country.
While the scope of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative along with RFID enabled identification documents is largely limited to international travel at this time, it will ultimately be used as a basis to limit and control domestic travel inside the country as programs such as Real ID and Enhanced Driver’s Licenses show.
For more background information on identity-based demands for travel inside and outside the country, checkout Papers Please.
Below appear additional links regarding experiences folks have had at Border Patrol checkpoints along I-8 along with the letter to the editor referenced above:
- Arizona DPS Delivers ‘Service’ With A Smile
- Abusive DHS Behavior at Internal Immigration Checkpoints
Letter Written by: Roy Wheeler
Date of Letter: 2009-05-27
Subject: Police State
My brother in law and I were returning home to San Diego from Phoenix after visiting a friend there, a trip I have made a number of times. And in that I have become accustomed to being stopped at the random checkpoints the Border Patrol has setup, in addition to the fact that I travel through the Pine Valley checkpoint on a regular basis. At these checkpoints I have a few different responses for the questions I get asked, most of those responses do not get good responses from the agents asking the questions.
This trip I had decided that trying to get these agents to understand the wrongs they are commiting was futile, and so I was not going to give any of my normal responses. But I also couldn’t give into to their claim for authority which they do not have, so I decided to treat the situation as if a person on the street was talking to me at random, and I would give the responses I would for a conversation like that. Because in the end, that is what these agents are as far as I am concerned, a stranger on the street.
Going to Phoenix was smooth and uneventful, as was going through the California-Arizona border, however a few miles after the border was a random check point. I pulled and stopped for the stop sign, I do not stop for the agents, I stop because the rules of the road dictate that I obey traffic signs. When I stop an agent approaches the truck, with a man this close to the vehicle I can not proceed without endangering him. I personally think that they should not be standing in the middle of Interstate 8, or any road for that matter. He asks me what my citizenship is, to which I reply “California”. You see we are citizens of the state we reside in, not of the fiction “The United States”, our state is a member of that union, we are not citizens of it. The agent paused for second as he scrutinized my truck attempting to get a look inside the cab and the bed. He asked a second question,” where are you coming from?” I looked back down the road, back up at him, back down the road again, and back up at him, and replied,”Arizona”. I said it with a tone to insinuate, where else could I be coming from. He really did not care for that answer, so he asked another question,”where are you going?” I looked up the road in front of me, up at him, back down the road, and back up at him, and said, ” California”, again with the same indignant tone, to let him know that I did not care for his questions.
At this point the agent really didn’t like my responses, and he wanted to exert his authority to make me answer the questions the way he wanted them answered. He turns from his truck bed inspection and leans towards the window, and asked,” what were you doing in Phoenix”. Now up until this point I was being tolerant, as I would any person on the street. But when asked what I was doing, that was too far, and I could not go along with it any longer. I told him that he had no right or authority to ask me what I was doing, or where I am going, or what I am going to do when I get there. He responded by telling me that he did in fact have the authority and that I had to tell him. I told him no he didn’t, that with in the United states, I have a right to free passage, and I do not have to report to him what i am doing. He then tells me to pull into “secondary”. I asked him ” Secondary what?”, He replies “secondary inspection”. I ask him if I am being detained. He doesn’t respond to my question, he just tells me once more to pull into secondary. I ask him if he has a supervisor. He says yes. I reply with ” i am going to pull over there (pointing to the secondary area) you go get your supervisor, and lets play.”
I pull into the secondary area, leaving my engine running, and wait. The agent quickly got his supervisor’s attention to come over and the agent approached the passenger side of the vehicle. When he was by the extra cab window of my ranger he asks me,” do you have your immigration documentation?” I am dumbfounded for a split second, I find it impossible that he asked me that question. In that split second, his supervisor that was only a half step behind him, asks,” do you have your travel documents?” At this I am completely blown away, i was never really expecting to hear that in my life time, basically, where are your papers. I said in a loud enough to be heard voice, that I don’t have to have documents to travel down the interstate, that I have the freedom of passage granted to me by God, and protected by the constitution, and that I don’t have to answer any of their questions. What the supervising agent said next made me want to rip something apart. And I quote agent R. Fink ” This is the United States and you do have to show us documents, and you do have to answer all of our questions, and no you don’t have the right to go from place to place anytime you want, .. we were bombed.”
I was floored, at this declaration, given in a loud authoritative voice, not only had I been asked where are my papers, I now have been informed that I didn’t have any rights, and that I was subject to this mans authority.
I replied back in just as loud and authoritative voice, ” I have those rights sir, and I am not going to submit to your claim of authority.”
By this time the agent R. Fink was up to the window and looking into the truck. The rest of the conversation was him trying to explain why he had to ask those questions, to catch smugglers, and other law breakers. And me telling him that I don’t care why he thinks he has to be able to ask those questions, he doesn’t have the right, and I don’t have the obligation to tell him anything, especially after inform him that I was a California citizen.
In the end, he says,” your not going to give an inch on this are you?” And I told him,” absolutely not, your doing what you think is your job, and I am doing what is my job as a citizen”. he nodded his head, and tells us to go on.
I was completely reeling after all that had gone on as I drove towards and through El Centro. As I approached the grade up the mountains into San Diego county, my brother in law saw something for a brief second, and asked if I saw it too. I didn’t, but what he thought he saw, and what he told me he thought it said warranted me turning around.
It was a 30 minute round trip to go back to the exit before he saw the sign. And after seeing it for myself, I got off the freeway, onto a frontage road, and I parked below the billboard sign. It read,”DO YOU HAVE THE APPROVED DOCUMENTS TO GET HOME”. On the sides of those words were WHTI and the DHS symbol. I have included the sign in this letter.
I never wanted to be the generation that has to witness this metamorphisis, when a nation goes from a little bit pushy, to full blown despotism. But after reading that sign, I now knew that those agents have been trained to be ready to be able to ask those questions and demand answers. And that my rebellion to do so angered them, because they looked forward to having more authority, more power in their minds.
I looked up the WHTI and getyouhome.gov and the acts and legislation they drew their enforcibility from. I asked local police officers, and they knew of the new enhanced drivers Licenses with the RFID chip in them, and they liked them. And I then knew how ALL the governments of mankind became despotic over time, I understood how the agents, and police, and the servants of the government, made it all possible.
It happens as most things do, slowly, and without a firm line in the sand to gauge how freedom is encroached upon, without something to be able to see how far we have come, you can’t even tell your moving in that direction. And the people responsible for doing it, don’t even understand what they are doing, all they know is that they want more ability to do what it is that they want to do. And right now it may seem good in their eyes, they may honestly just want to be able to dig into everyones lives to stop some bad thing from happening. And who could blame them for pursuing such a noble thing. But its how an unintentional person gets wrapped up into the tornado that is tyranny. A person who does not intend to purposefully understand and uphold freedom, and liberty, can unintentional destroy them both, and much else too.