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.
I noticed an increase in network traffic to the blog recently so took a closer look. What I discovered was that Peter Watts, an award-winning Canadian science fiction writer, was recently roughed up close to the Canadian border by U.S. homeland security goons with Customs and Border Protection.
It appears that Mr Watts was attempting to return to Canada via the Blue Water Bridge in Michigan when he was selected by Customs and Border ‘Protection’ agents for extra special attention in the form of a random vehicle search prior to leaving the country. That’s right, Mr. Watts wasn’t attempting to enter the United States. He was attempting to leave.
In yet another example of illegal Homeland Security enforcement activity inside the country, 18 year old Iris Cooper is one of the latest victims of Border Patrol aggression against the traveling public.
Last month, Mz. Cooper was on her way to class at the Pima Medical Institute in Tucson, AZ when she realized she had left her school books at home. Northbound on I-19 in Southern Arizona, she turned around to retrieve them only to be stopped, seized, detained and searched by Border Patrol agents shortly after conducting a perfectly legal about-face. In addition to seizing and searching her, the federal agents added insult to injury by handcuffing her and forcing her to wait thirty minutes for the arrival of a K-9 unit that proceeded to search her vehicle upon its arrival absent consent.
On September 11, 2009 in a significant departure from standard operating procedures, Customs and Border Protection officers normally assigned to Ports of Entry are observed working the primary stop location of an internal checkpoint over 40 miles North of the border along a highway never intersecting the border at any point. This is the continuation of a shift in Homeland Security tactics first observed on August 21, 2009. Whether or not this is a temporary experiment in cross-training personnel from different units within the agency or a permanent shift in DHS tactics remains to be seen.