The video above depicts Border Patrol agent Michael Flanders acknowledging the right of individuals to not answer questions while being seized at internal Border Patrol roadblocks. For daring to do his duty in a professional, friendly and lawful manner, Agent Flanders is now facing termination from Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
I initially wrote about Agent Flanders back in March of 2014. I hadn’t heard much more about him since then however until this most recent video. As part of the video posting, Agent Flanders also provided the following description:
The video above depicts the actions of a violent street gang that’s been operating with impunity in Southern Texas for quite some time now. The street gang, also known as the Green Monster (U.S. Border Patrol), physically attacked a truck driver without just cause at a suspicionless internal Homeland Security roadblock near Falfurrias, TX in early November of this year:
While being seized & detained at the roadblock for peacefully & lawfully exercising his right to not answer investigatory questions, the trucker’s window was busted out by U.S. Border Patrol Field Supervisor Lial. Lial then had his lackeys drag the trucker out against his will. After the trucker was removed from his vehicle, Lial rushed in and seized the video camera that had recorded the assault.
On March 18, 2010 Major Richard Rynearson, an active duty air force pilot, was illegally detained for over 34 minutes at an internal immigration checkpoint near Uvalde, Texas despite answering all immigration related questions and showing multiple forms of identification to Border Patrol agents. Agents who were far more interested in harassing Mr. Rynearson than verifying his immigration status. Instead of disciplining his subordinates for violating Border Patrol legal guidance, violating the law and violating Mr. Rynearson’s rights, Chief Patrol Agent Robert Harris (depicted below) doubled down by writing a letter to Rynearson’s command complaining about Rynearson actually exercising some of those rights Harris is responsible for protecting.
[Update: The show is now available online here. Another version of the story has also been released on latinousa.org]
Beginning Friday November 21, 2014, the public radio show This American Life will air a segment on internal Border Patrol checkpoints. I was interviewed last month by the show regarding my history & experiences at some of these checkpoints.
For those who want to listen to the show when it airs, you can find out what station it will be available on in your area along with dates and times here. Otherwise, the show should be archived and available online here
[A law bulletin issued to Border Patrol agents in 2012 but largely ignored]
For years it’s been obvious to me that federal Border Patrol agents are operating well outside the law at internal Border Patrol checkpoints and via roving patrol. Indeed, my Roadblock Revelations blog and videos have been largely dedicated to exposing this lawlessness through first hand experiences and research that I’ve been slowly piecing together and sharing online. I’ve also submitted quite a few FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) requests over the years regarding official USCBP policies and procedures. The purpose being to compare the way agents are actually conducting roadblock operations to how they’re supposed to be conducted according to official agency policy.
All of my FOIA requests have resulted in the Border Patrol further violating the law by either refusing to respond at all or failing to provide any sort of meaningful reply (the most recent examples of this will be posted in the near future). The reason for this has also been obvious to me over the years. Border Patrol top brass & supervisors know their agents are violating the law while operating outside agency policy but don’t want irrefutable evidence of this fact to see the light of day.
[Supervising Agent Rosalinda Huey & two of her minions harassing roadblock monitors near Arivaca, AZ in March 2014]
Back in March, I wrote a short blog entry regarding residents of Arivaca and Amado in Southern Arizona who have come together to form People Helping People In The Border Zone. After suffering years of harassment, intimidation and overtly illegal acts by U.S. Border Patrol agents operating several suspicionless internal roadblocks in the area, residents formed the organization in order to seek answers to their questions, research the effectiveness of the roadblocks for their alleged ‘lawful’ purpose and ultimately to hold the Border Patrol accountable for the actions of its agents.
After two years of letter writing and petitioning got them no where (something I’m quite familiar with), the organization decided to take a more active role and gather the data they were seeking by directly monitoring checkpoint operations themselves. Quite expectantly, the Border Patrol responded by harassing the monitors, illegally threatening them & illegally interfering with their first amendment protected activities.
With a few exceptions like agent Mike Flanders, only on April Fools Day in the alleged Land of the Free can you see how Border Patrol agents should conduct themselves at internal immigration checkpoints (other than not conducting them at all that is)….
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.
Showing both courage and integrity, the video above depicts an active duty Border Patrol agent speaking out against the unlawful actions of fellow agents at so-called internal immigration checkpoints in Southern California.
Mike Flanders went public with his allegations of Border Patrol misconduct at internal checkpoints after his attempts at redress within CBP (Customs and Border Protection) were rebuffed. Not only were his concerns marginalized by his chain of command but his duties at the Interstate-8 checkpoint near Pine Valley were suspended and he was reassigned to roving patrol while an internal investigation and other adversarial actions were initiated against him.
In other words, Agent Flanders was retaliated against for daring to question the illegal actions of the agency. Something Customs & Border Protection and the Department of Homeland Security are obviously quite good at – retaliation that is as opposed to Border Protection or Homeland Security.