Sunday, June 7, 2015

'I am a citizen': when border patrol agents violate the rights of US residents

As one Arizona border community calls for closure of checkpoint, concerns grow over increased racial profiling and invasion of civil rights

...federal regulations allow border patrol agents to operate within 100 miles of America’s territorial boundaries. This means, according to the ACLU, that about two-thirds of Americans, some 200 million people, are in that zone.

Backed by the ACLU, members of an Arivaca community group, People Helping People, fielded a lawsuit last year claiming that Border Patrol has unconstitutionally hindered their attempts to monitor the checkpoint close-up. They are expecting a ruling soon. The group released a report saying that its monitoring showed that Latinos were 26 times as likely as whites to have to show identification and 20 times more likely to have to go through a secondary inspection.

“It is impossible to reconcile the dragnet stopping of passers-by with fourth amendment principles [against unreasonable searches and seizures],” said James Lyall, an attorney for the ACLU of Arizona. He drew parallels with the checkpoints, license-plate readers and bulk NSA collection of data – examples, he said, of how “the government inserts itself into people’s daily activities without any real oversight”.


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