Looks like I’m not the only Arizonan fed up with armed Border Patrol agents seizing folks absent suspicion along public roads inside the country to interrogate, search and generally harass them absent individualized suspicion of wrongdoing.
The residence of Arivaca and Amado Arizona have been putting up with bullying from overzealous agents at internal suspicionless checkpoints that surround their towns for well over seven years now. Seven years where even young school children on government school buses are routinely targeted for interrogation & harassment:
About a year ago, residents of the two towns decided to do something about it and began demanding documentation from Tucson Sector CBP leadership that would justify the existence and placement of the checkpoints. True to form, CBP and DHS steadfastly refused to release any documentation while simultaenously refusing to disband or relocate the checkpoints under the false pretense that they’re critical to the Border Patrol’s mission.
How do I know the pretense is false? I’ve read the GAO reports regarding the (in)effectiveness of internal checkpoints in the Tucson Sector and attended Town Hall meetings with gov’t officials to discuss the matter. See:
After it became clear to residents of Arivaca and Amado that DHS and CBP intended to violate the Freedom of Information Act in order to refuse them access to public documents regarding the ineffectiveness of the checkpoints, they formed an organization called People Helping People In The Border Zone and petitioned CBP to remove the checkpoints instead. When their petition, which was signed by over 1/3 of the town’s residents, was similarly ignored, the organization decided to start monitoring the checkpoints for themselves to document just how ineffective they truly are. That monitoring effort got underway in late February and will continue until such time as the checkpoints are removed according to the group.
It’s good to see such efforts starting to take shape in communities across the Southwest. The Border Patrol has had a free hand in violating the rights of the people they’re supposed to protect for far too long while the politicians who should be keeping the agency on a short leash have turned a blind eye to CBP abuse. As such, it’s up to us to defend our own rights and bring accountability to a department that doesn’t know what the word means.
Links to several new stories regarding the checkpoint monitoring program can be found below:
- Arivaca residents monitoring CBP checkpoint – KVOA
- Arivaca residents are monitoring border checkpoint – KSAZ Fox 10
- Arizona residents begin monitoring immigration checkpoint – LA Times
- Arizonans Want Abusive Border Patrol Checkpoint Removed From Their Town – Reason
- End Border Patrol Checkpoints – Facebook