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.
In a 3 to 2 vote earlier this month, the Pima County Board of Supervisors opted to reject $1.4 million dollars in federal funds associated with the Operation Stonegarden grant program for the first time since the Pima County Sheriff’s Dept. began participating in the program sometime around 2012-2013:
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.
A federal magistrate in Phoenix, Arizona recently chastised U.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 Arizona law 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.
I started writing this blog entry, regarding a disabled school teacher dragged out of her vehicle and forced to the ground at a Marfa, TX checkpoint in 2015, shortly after first hearing about it. Unfortunately, I let the story get away from me by sitting on it for too long as I tried doing research on several related issues and waiting for more information regarding the incident to come to light. To be frank, I forgot about it after a while and didn’t come across it again until just recently while dusting off the website & prepping for new content. Despite the age of the incident however, I think it’s an important story to highlight because it shows several things that are so very wrong with interior suspicionless roadblocks in America.
While on vacation and traveling the Southwest in January of this year, Mark Edge along with his wife and young son gained some valuable insights into what it’s like to live within the occupied territories of the United States of America. During their travels, they were stopped and seized absent reasonable suspicion no less than four times by armed paramilitary troops operating suspicionless roadblocks with impunity along public highways inside the United States of America.
While I have much to say about Rick Rynearson’s treatment at the hands of jack-booted Border Patrol thugs at internal suspicionless roadblocks and black-robed judicial thugs in the judicial system, I’ll let Rick speak for himself….
Evan Bernick | 17 March 2016
“It is an issue that affects millions of American motorists: Can border patrol agents detain you simply because they believe you are being difficult? Last year, a federal court concluded that it was “reasonable” for border patrol agents performing citizenship checks to detain Richard Rynearson at an immigration checkpoint for 23 minutes after he offered the agents both his military and personal passports, without any suspicion of criminal activity. In rejecting Rynearson’s Fourth Amendment claims, the court brushed aside compelling evidence—captured on video—that the agents deliberately prolonged Rynearson’s detention because he dared to question the propriety of some of their questions and instructions.”