Arizona’s Checkpoint Wars – by Patrick Eddington
On July 2, 2018, the first amended complaint in CPUSA’s ongoing civil rights lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Arizona. The biggest changes between the initial complaint and the first amended complaint include a refinement of the factual allegations, a refinement of the law violation counts and the dropping of the Bivens Claim against the individual federal agents. While I was reluctant to do this, it was deemed necessary due to recent court rulings limiting the scope of the Bivens Claim and making a successful Bivens claim in this case unlikely. A federal tort claim is still in the works however and we anticipate rolling such a claim into this complaint at a later date.
On May 25th, 2018, Patrick Eddington with Just Security posted an article regarding Checkpoint USA’s recently filed civil rights lawsuit & federal tort claim. For those who aren’t already familiar with the legal action, the lawsuit was filed against the Pima County Sheriff’s Department & various Customs & Border Protection agents in their individual capacities while the tort claim was filed against Customs & Border Protection. Just Security is an online forum for the rigorous analysis of U.S. national security law and policy and is maintained by the New York University School of Law.
The article summarizes some of the sixteen year history leading up to the present lawsuit, discusses how the Operation Stonegarden federal grant program is playing a role in the legal action and links the underlying issues with similar legal action taking place in areas like Arivaca, AZ.
As such, I recommend the article for the broader context it provides regarding these issues. It can be found online at:
More information about CPUSA’s ongoing lawsuit and the issues leading up to it can be found at:
Understanding that the price of liberty is eternal vigilance and that internal checkpoints represent more of a threat to our country than the problem(s) they profess to solve, the Cato Institute recently launched an initiative to help identify and track the Border Patrol roadblocks currently being operated along public highways inside the United States of America. This initiative, aptly named:
is just beginning and has positively identified 39 of approximately 140 interior roadblocks currently in existence in the Southern border states (California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas).
In August of 2017, the U.S. Border Patrol’s Swanton Sector conspired with the Woodstock, NH Police Department to operate a drug roadblock in New Hampshire under color of federal immigration law. The roadblock was setup along Interstate 93, approximately 90 miles south of the international border with Canada at a location well past the point where the majority of traffic would have been border-related:
I was recently interviewed by KOLD’s Craig Reck in Tucson, AZ regarding a civil rights lawsuit that was recently filed in U.S. District Court that I’m involved in:
The lawsuit is the result of ongoing harassment I’ve been the subject of for years by Pima County Sheriff Deputies and U.S. Border Patrol agents at the SR-86 CBP roadblock located near milepost 146.5:
The last straw leading up to the lawsuit was an incident that took place at the roadblock on April 10, 2017 involving, amongst others, Pima County Sheriff’s Deputy Ryan Roher and U.S Border Patrol Agent T. Frye.
By the time everything was said and done, Deputy Roher had arrested me on a state charge of highway obstruction. This despite the fact that I was being detained against my will in front of two stops signs in the lane of traffic at a federal roadblock by an armed federal agent who had refused to let me leave while investigating me possible violations of federal law he had no reasonable basis to believe I had violated. I fought the charge in court for eleven months before it was finally dropped by the prosecutor based in part on testimony given by Deputy Roher in a deposition from earlier this year.
While defending against the charge, I filed a Notice of Claim with Pima County in October of 2017. After the charge was finally dropped, I filed a Federal Tort Claim with Customs & Border Protection in March followed by the legal complaint in April of this year.
Updated information regarding this incident and the ongoing lawsuit will be made available on this blog and the following page(s):
I started writing this post a few years ago after the ACLU of Arizona first released it’s Record of Abuse investigative report regarding U.S. Border Patrol interior enforcement operations in the Tucson and Yuma sectors. I let the article get away from me at the time but recent events have brought me back to it.
If there’s one thing people can agree on regarding CBP (Customs & Border Protection), it’s that the agency routinely operates over the line. To illustrate this fact, Rachael Maddux of the Virginia Quarterly Review recently published a wide ranging article on CBP operations inside the country. The article is available online at:
For the article, Checkpoint USA was interviewed back in the summer of 2017 & briefly mentioned in the piece. The article is worth the read and should cover several topics of interest to readers of this blog. Some of those topics include, but are not limited to, the following:
- A discussion on CBP’s legal authority to operate inside the country along with some of the history associated with that authority
- A recent seizure of domestic plane travelers by CBP agents at New York’s JFK airport
- The ACLU’s 100 Mile Zone and recent publications such as, “Record of Abuse: Lawlessness and Impunity in Border Patrol’s Interior Enforcement Operations”
- Ambiguity in CBP’s interior enforcement operations including the lack of adequate record keeping
- CBP’s fight against transparency in its interior operations
- The author’s personal interior checkpoint experience
- Several other recent instances of CBP abuse and overreach
The Tucson Weekly has an interesting article in last week’s edition titled:
It’s actually an excerpt from a book titled, STORMING THE WALL, by Todd Miller. The article does a good job painting real faces on the people Border Patrol agents routinely abuse, harass and traumatize at suspicionless checkpoints/roadblocks along domestic highways across the Southwest.
An excerpt from the article appears below:
"Sit down," the agent barks.The children immediately sit on the burning asphalt. Garcia doesn't sit. He is trying to articulate, now by his actions, that he doesn't consent. The pause is enough to irritate the agent again. "Sit the fuck down," the agent says to the U.S. citizen, again raising his billy club. Garcia finally complies. The border between these two sets of U.S. citizens is as powerful as the actual international border, and the threat of violence can emerge as suddenly and fiercely as an oncoming storm. - Checkpoint Trauma, Tucson Weekly, September 21, 2017
2017 has seen a resurgence in the U.S. Border Patrol’s ongoing war against freedom of movement inside the country. This despite the fact the U.S. Border Patrol is supposed to, well, patrol the actual border:
The United States Border Patrol (USBP) is an American federal law enforcement agency. Its mission is to detect and prevent illegal aliens, terrorists and terrorist weapons from entering the United States, and prevent illegal trafficking of people and contraband. It is the mobile, uniformed law enforcement arm of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), a component of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). With over 21,000 agents, the U.S. Border Patrol is one of the largest law enforcement agencies in the United States. - Wikipedia
Given however that Customs & Border Protection has little interest in shutting down more than about 30% of illegal traffic at the actual border due to CBP corruption and the impact of enforcement operations on cross-border commercial traffic, one can see why the Border Patrol continues to shift its dog and pony show away from actual border enforcement activities and towards interior enforcement operations that significantly interfere with domestic traffic.