A federal magistrate in Phoenix, Arizona recently chastisedU.S. Customs & Border Protection (USCBP) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for blatant violations of the Freedom of Information Act. The magistrate’s findings were the result of an ongoing lawsuit filed by the ACLU & two University of Arizonalaw professors over three years ago.
While violations of federal law by DHS and USCBP are nothing new and FOIA lawsuits against them are numerous, what’s relatively unique in this case is the subject of the FOIA lawsuit referenced above. Specifically, it targets the Green Monster’s policies & procedures regarding interior enforcement operations such as internal roadblocks and roving patrols along with complaints filed against USCBP related to the enforcement of those policies and procedures.
Proving itself to be an equal opportunity harasser regardless of what border it operates near, Border Patrol agents stationed near Canada were recently caught on tape illegally detaining, physically assaulting and tasering 21 year old Jessica Cooke near Waddington, New York. The incident occurred on May 7, 2015 and the agents primarily responsible for the assault can be seen above as well as in the video below:
In 2008, CBP agent Abel Canales was observed & documented by gov’t investigators accepting bribes to allow truck loads of illegal narcotics and aliens through the Tucson Sector I-19 checkpoint. For some inexplicable reason however, Canales was allowed to continue operating in the field for over three years until he was finally indicted in 2011. In 2012, Canales plead guilty to a single charge of bribery.
During the three years in which a fully armed & corrupt Canales was allowed to continue working in the field, interacting with an unsuspecting public in a position of power and influence, Canales managed to dig his hole even deeper by shooting and injuring for life an unarmed illegal immigrant in 2010.
On Monday February 9, 2015, Channel 13 News in Tucson, AZ (KOLD) published the above video and an investigative report on internal CBP checkpoints:
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) –
“There’s growing concern surrounding southern Arizona’s Border Patrol checkpoints. An increasing number of complaints are now coming from United States citizens who believe they’re wrongfully being questioned and sometimes detained by agents without probable cause….”
The complete report and video can be found on KOLD’s website at:
Rampant illegal actions by Border Patrol agents stationed in border states around the country has been the norm for quite some time now. The problem has only grown in recent years as the agency continues to expand at an alarming rate with few, if any, checks and balances. As such, it’s good to see the ACLU finally taking an active roll in seeking accountability for such illegal acts at internal checkpoints and by roving patrols.
What never ceases to amaze me however is despite the increased scrutiny of the Border Patrol in general, just how many Border Patrol agents there are who couldn’t care less while continuing to violate the law. This of course only serves to show just how arrogant the agency is and unaccountable its agents are.
Not content to harass domestic traffic absent individualized suspicion of wrongdoing at roadblocks inside the country, Border Patrol agents are now storming private homes to seize video evidence of their own wrongdoing.
The folks over at Photography Is Not a Crime bring us a story about seven Border Patrol agents who hunted down a man in Escondido, California who had taken video of an agent and an undercover police officer beating a suspect laying on the ground. After discovering where the videographer lived, the agents stormed & searched his house hours after the incident without a warrant. They then seized his cell phone, also without a warrant, containing video of the incident. See:
[Sources: Department of Homeland Security, Office of the Inspector General | Graphic: The Washington Post]
Over the past week or so, several articles regarding skyrocketing corruption within Customs and Border Protection ranks have been published in the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times.
CBP corruption (formerly U.S. Border Patrol and U.S. Customs) has been an ongoing trend I’ve been watching for the better part of the last decade so it’s good to see main stream media outlets starting to cover this issue in greater depth as well.
Two recent articles appearing in the New York Times highlight the burgeoning American police state compliments of the Department of Homeland Security.
It seems that the Border Patrol has as much difficulty finding the Northern border as its Southern counterpart, choosing instead to harass domestic Amtrak train passengers traveling between Chicago and New York City with nary a stop near anything resembling an international border.
For those of you who still think it’s easier to roll over & just answer their questions than exercise your fundamental rights while being detained & interrogated by armed Border Patrol agents at suspicionless checkpoints inside the country, the letter to the editor reprinted from Freedom’s Phoenix below shows the fallacy of this reasoning:
Update: 17FEB2011 - YouTube has once again removed the video for unknown reasons. Most likely because Border Patrol agents don't like being held accountable in a public forum. We'll see what we can do to remedy that situation...
Update: 17DEC2010 - Looks like the video has been reposted. I've updated the embedded link accordingly.
[Update: 25OCT2010 - Looks like Youtube & the Border Patrol are busy censoring videos again. The videographer reported Youtube banned the video depicted in this blog entry without explanation. A similar incident occurred to 3 of my videos a while back. See here for details.]
The checkpoint depicted in the video above is the interim checkpoint located near kilometer post 45 on I-19 in Southern Arizona and championed by Congressional Representative Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona’s 8th District. Like so many other Border Patrol checkpoint encounters, the video above documents harassment of the traveling public by agents who take advantage of their limited authority in an attempt to intimidate individuals into waiving their fundamental rights.