As many of you know, I've been documenting my experiences at an internal suspicionless Homeland Security checkpoint along State Route 86 in Southern Arizona since January of 2008. While I've been stopped and seized well over fifty times since the beginning of the year, I've only posted a small fraction of the video footage. Choosing instead to highlight those seizures that have been the most egregious.
Two such videos appear below. Even though the seizures took place over six months apart, they are representative of what these Homeland Security checkpoints are really all about.
With over 3,000 agents in the Tucson sector and only 265 miles of border to patrol, there's no good reason why the Border Patrol couldn't secure the border at the border if the agency chose to live up to its namesake. Instead, it directs a large percentage of its personnel and resources away from the border to harass and intimidate the traveling public at internal suspicionless checkpoints. Indeed, the agency claims - and routinely exercises - the illegitimate power to stop, seize, question and search anyone within 100 miles of an external border with only mere suspicion or none at all.
By doing so, the agency turns a 265 mile patrol line into a 26,500 square mile patrol area. Put slightly differently, the Border Patrol is going out of its way to make sure its agents wont be present where the 'violation' is being committed - on the border. Thus assuring an ever-increasing budget along with job security for its agents in the decades to come.
In addition to this basic logistical analysis, the agency publicly admits it uses suspicionless internal checkpoints to look for felons, terrorists, weapons, illegal narcotics and illegal aliens. This despite the fact the Supreme Court specifically limited such internal checkpoint activity to brief immigration queries in U.S. v. Martinez-Fuerte and outright banned drug or general law enforcement checkpoints in City of Indianapolis v. Edmond.
Given that the agents depicted below admit they knew who I was but chose to detain me anyway absent consent or probable cause, it's clear the scope of these internal Homeland Security checkpoints far exceed the reach authorized by the Supreme Court. Indeed, their actions and distorted justifications show they're far more concerned with securing obedience from a cowed populace than securing the border they're paid to patrol.
Below you will find the two videos discussed above along with a brief description of each encounter:
On November 26th, I was stopped & seized for about the 50th time since the beginning of 2008. The seizure took place at an internal suspicionless Homeland Security checkpoint along Southern Arizona's SR86 near mile post 146. SR86 is an East-West public highway located 40 miles North of the border and never intersects the border at any point.
During the stop, Agent Gilmore admitted he knew who I was & all three agents told me I wasn't being detained. Nonetheless, these facts didn't stop the agents from refusing to allow me to leave making it clear they either didn't understand what a detention is or were lying. They chose instead to escalate the encounter by directing me to secondary inspection for more intensive scrutiny absent consent or probable cause.
While continuing to deny that I was being detained but refusing to allow me to leave, the agents threatened me with arrest for impeding operations. After close to eight minutes of not being detained, a Border Patrol supervisor arrived on-scene and wasted no time in waving me through.
The internal suspicionless Homeland Security checkpoint seizure depicted in this video took place on April 22, 2008 - over 40 miles North of the border along Southern Arizona's SR86 near mile marker 146.
Both agents working primary had previously stopped me in the recent past. The videos of these previous stops appear below:
Unlike these previous stops where I was waved through relatively quickly, this time around Agent's Cruz & Villa played tag team & illegally detained me absent consent or probable cause for close to ten minutes. This despite the fact both agents knew who I was.
Instead of protecting the traveling public, these checkpoints serve primarily as exercises in obedience training through dominance games along a public highway. While such suspicionless enforcement tactics are commonplace in third world dictatorships, they have no place in a Constitutional Republic such as ours.
The Writ of Assistance should have disappeared generations ago after the overthrow of the British government and the instantiation of the 4th Amendment. Unfortunately, the spirit of the writ lives on within those who seek to dominate & control instead of serve & protect.