ACLU: Border Patrol Doing Questionable Patrols, Far From the Border

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border-patrol-fence-top.jpg
Jim Greenhill via Flickr
A Border Patrol vehicle near Nogales.


The American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona claims Border Patrol agents are harassing residents in southern Arizona, often far from the border.

The ACLU has sent a letter to federal investigators, outlining some of the allegations, and asking for an investigation into "roving patrols" by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials.

In addition to unlawful vehicle stops, the ACLU has documented cases in which Border Patrol agents have interrogated pedestrians on the streets of Yuma and Tucson as well as patients in Tucson area hospitals," ACLU staff attorney James Lyall says in the letter. "Last year, a Sunnyside High School student in Tucson was wrongfully handed over to Border Patrol agents by school officials for investigation of his immigration status. The picture that emerges from these incidents and years of litigation is of pervasive abuse and a systemic failure of oversight and accountability at all levels of CBP.

In one case, a citizen says she was driving her young children home from school in a town not far outside of Tucson when she was pulled over by Border Patrol, and threatened with a Taser for being "difficult." They then left her on the side of the road with a flat tire, which just so happened to go flat during the stop.

Another U.S. citizen claims she was pulled over on the Tohono O'odham Indian Reservation -- where she's lived almost her entire life -- and was pulled from her car, which was searched without consent by agents, the woman contends. She was detained for 90 minutes while agents apparently searched for drugs that didn't exist, according to the letter.

Yet another U.S. citizen, who lives in Oregon, says he was visiting the Fort Bowie National Historic Site, when a park ranger started questioning him. Border Patrol was called in, and agents sent in the drug-sniffing dog, which ripped up his car, he says. Again, no drugs were found, and the man had to pay for car repairs out of his own pocket.

More citizens, from Benson and Bisbee, also allege being detained and searched for no reason.

"Although the circumstance varied, the factors that would support a lawful stop were absent or weighed against an intrusive investigatory stop because they applied to a large category of innocent travelers," the ACLU's letter says. "However, one factor in particular stands out: None of the stops occurred in close proximity to the border, and most were close to populated areas where the volume of legitimate travelers was extremely high."

The letter continues:
In the five cases presented herein, respectively, the stops occurred approximately 40, 50, 60, 60, and 8 miles north of the border. In none of these situations did Border Patrol have any indication that the vehicles came from the border. Nor were other factors present to suggest that any of the individuals stopped were engaged in illegal activity or fit a profile other than one applicable to a large category of innocent travelers. In each of these instances, U.S. citizens were subjected to stops unsupported by reasonable suspicion, in some cases followed by unlawful searches, extended detention, excessive use of force, or destruction of personal property.
The ACLU letter also states many Latinos appear to have been pulled over and interrogated by Border Patrol for no other reason than their perceived race.

The ACLU points to court cases, including the Melendres v. Arpaio racial-profiling case, as to why that's illegal.

To add insult to injury, the ACLU says that CBP and the Department of Homeland Security were mostly non-responsive to the above complaints.

The ACLU's asking for an investigation of the individuals involved in the above-mentioned incidents, as well as CBP's practices as a whole.

Check out the letter in its entirety on the next page

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37 comments
StopTheHating
StopTheHating

What do you expect when you have 20,000 really bored racist Border Patrol thugs wandering around looking for something to do or for someone to harass? Imagine how much fun all of you will all have if the Federal Government adds 20,000 more of them and turns the southern half of your precious Arizona into a militarized zone.


It's a perfect example of "Be careful what you wish for; you just might get it."

robert_graham
robert_graham

Any federal law enforcement officer has jurisdiction anywhere in the United States.  They can go and patrol where they want to.

john043012
john043012 topcommenter

Hispanics along with their illegal brethren are always complaining about states  enforcing immigration laws ,that only the federal government has the authority to capture, detain and finally deport their illegal brethren well the border patrol is a federal agency and so is I.C.E..

Mahira863
Mahira863

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Camille Stodgell
Camille Stodgell

Bet they are just trying to protect the people of Arizona from More ILLEGALS......

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

BTW - although I think this sucks and is wrong.... thank you idiot voters and scared republicans for suspending the constitution within 100miles of the border, meaning 2/3d's of the population of the United States no longer live under the Constitution.

This is wrong and needs changed asap. I understand a reasonable distance for CBP to operate, but that's not 100miles, 5 maybe, but 100 is just an excuse to do exactly this to American citizens.

Here's something to think about.

How much is maintaining a 100mile buffer, with stations, patrols (gas, vehicle costs, personnel), technology, etc... Now ask yourself how effective it is.

Now ask yourself, if you took all those resources currently being spread out in that 100mile buffer and concentrated them within a 5 mile buffer, how much more effective they would be simply due to saturation??? Probably on the order of several hundred percent more effective... aka real border control and security...

Seems pretty straightforward to me...

Denise Mason
Denise Mason

Not even!!!!! They are being prevented from doing their jobs. If we had proper border patrol and security, we wouldn't have over 12 million people in our country ILLEGALLY!!!!! We DO NOT have an immigration problem in our country- we have an ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT problem!!!! The ACLU is overstepping their bounds.

Brett Solesky
Brett Solesky

Having worked side by side with the Border Patrol from 2006 to 2008 I can say that bits of the information contained within this statement are completely untrue. Yes the BP has authority 100 miles beyond border with a BP station in Casa Grande. But yes they do need probable cause. But they also have rules that work against them, for instance if a human or drug smuggler flees from the Border Patrol at a high rate of speed the BP has to call off the chase, they cannot pursue any potential suspect that flees. Also due to the backlog of drug smuggling cases in the U.S. justice system, the DEA will not prosecute any person who has smuggled in less than 500-pounds of marijuana. Unless it meets that minimum they won't prosecute and unless the state or county chooses to move forward with the prosecution then that smuggler is set free. There is also no need to have your rights read unless you're being placed under arrest, questions from law enforcement often determine probable cause or reason for arrest. I.E. being pulled over for speeding, why were you speeding, and other questions pertaining to the traffic stop. Most smugglers also wait to make their move early in the morning so as to better blend in with rush hour traffic so that if there happens to be state or local law enforcement that the BP can coordinate with a highway chase is all the more complicated. So there are different factors that also complicate Border enforcement in this country.

Lorie Hill
Lorie Hill

Living in Arizona sucks! Can't wait to move.

eric.nelson745
eric.nelson745 topcommenter

This inland enforcement needs to stop. I hate to slow down to go thru checkpoints. It is demeaning to me to answer "yes" when asked whether I'm a U.S. citizen. That's just how I feel about it and I'm hardly alone. The BP needs to concentrate 90% of their efforts right on the border. Interdiction of persons trying to sneak into the country is preferable to staging raids in Iowa and holding up traffic in border states.

Mary Doe
Mary Doe

Let's be charitable. Where would you prefer to harass people: in the middle of a desert, or in close proximity to your own air-conditioned house. Not to mention several air-conditioned bars? Exactly.

Brent Friedland
Brent Friedland

Think of it as a prevent defense. It allows perpetual first downs but in theory prevents the touchdown. What we should be doing is fighting the reason people prefer to risk their life and leave their home and family in search of something better. Stop Latin American Government Corruption, reinforce the rule of law, the sanctity of private property, and reduce over regulation. Government expenses in any country should be for expanding infrastructure, basic education, and providing for the common defense.

Keith Flynn
Keith Flynn

2 out of 3 Americans live within 100 miles of the US land and coastal borders. That's close to 200 million people without Constitutional rights because they live in the Constitution-Free Zone. A zone where they can search your electronic belongings for no reason. We’re talking about no suspicion, no reasonable cause, nothing. No reason whatsoever is required under their own regulations. What's worse is that mainstream media ignores this pure tyranny.

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

Wow.. did these agents get their training from MCSO or are they simply MCSO rejects/Dropouts?

I think I will take my camera'd and mic'd car for a drive this weekend....

Juan Roque
Juan Roque

Border Patrol has enforcement authority in zones which are a certain number of miles from the boundary. In some cases it's several miles to a hundred or so miles. They do NOT need probable cause, they can racial profile and they do not need to read you your rights when questioning you. They operate under a whole different set of rules. They are specifically looking for Mexican or other immigrants and if they spot you they will come after you and will not say sorry if they're wrong.

Chango Cisar
Chango Cisar

just to add in there, i was stopped by them at least 30 times during my time there.

Chango Cisar
Chango Cisar

they have always overstepped their boundaries, i lived in nogales for at least 5 years. their corruption and abuse of power shows no limits, the border patrol their are rude aggressive and follow no laws. i even had border patrol agents request i tattoo racist slogans on them. they are not good people or even remotely care about civil rights

Cozz
Cozz topcommenter

Time to sue the Nazi bastards.

robert_graham
robert_graham

@Flyer9753 There is nothing wrong with our laws being enforced. Only libtards like you think differently.

logicman
logicman

@Flyer9753 How much is maintaining roads, schools, parks, ect for millions of people not paying into the tax system?

robert_graham
robert_graham

@Denise Mason Yes they are being prevented by none other than stupid libtards.

robert_graham
robert_graham

@Brett Solesky Just about everything you read in this rag called the Phoenix New Times is untrue.

robert_graham
robert_graham

@Lorie Hill Well move then! What are you waiting for?

HAHAHA
HAHAHA

@Lorie Hill Pleas do ASAP

robert_graham
robert_graham

@eric.nelson745 Well if you don't have anything to hide don't worry about it. Are you also tired of our traffic laws and other things being enforced too? I am sure you are also tired of seeing pooice cars drive down ourv streets everyday, right?

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

@Brent Friedland 

ok, so I will be at your house in 15 minutes for an unwarranted search of your property and person. You have no ability to defend yourself... Please have some coffee fresh brewed for me...

After all, I'm only doing a 'preventive defense"

robert_graham
robert_graham

@Chango Cisar No they have not overstepped their boundaries.  Does TSA overstep their boundaries when they ask to see your ID when you fly out of Shy Harbor?  Has TSA overstepped their boundaries when they ask you to step through the full body scanner?

david_saint01
david_saint01 topcommenter

@Chango Cisar lol should have just done a swastika instead (for the tattoo) and when they complain just say "hey, figured this was cheaper for you and still got the point across" 

Bnbk
Bnbk

@Cozz This should outrage everyone be they Dem or Rep. We will never secure our border with douche bags like these terrorizing citizens in heavy populated areas. Right wing border hawks Teabaggers should be up in arms about this,if not for the violation of constitutional rights,for the waste of manpower and resources these border patrol agents are committing. Of course you won't hear a peep from the so called fiscal conservative Teabaggers,not while the main targets of these douchebags are Latino.

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

@logicman @Flyer9753 

Thank you for making my point for me. Yes those cost a lot... and we would have a lot less illegals in this country mooching on those services if we had the type of effective border management and enforcement I speak about.

Less illegals means less cost of them taking those services you mention.

Thank you for making my point for me even though I am pretty sure that was not your intent.

yourproductsucks2
yourproductsucks2 topcommenter

Iguess your point would be valid if I-8 wasnt hemorrhaging bales of marijuana attached to the backs of drug smugglers 45 miles north of the Maricopa county line.

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