Department of Homeland Security

Enjoy This Montage of People Refusing to Cooperate with DHS Checkpoints

"Am I being detained? Am I free to go?"


Hat tip to TMan for posting this link. It was too fun to keep in the comments for an unrelated post on a different form of abuse of power. Here's a crew of folks refusing to submit to questioning at Department of Homeland Security immigration checkpoints that aren't actually at the border (and one case of a driver refusing to cooperate with one of California's produce checkpoints as an employee hilariously thinks he can make him leave the state).

Video posted on YouTube by millsmost.

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  1. Video posted on YouTube by millsmost.

    Whoa, TMan, no that tip other than a buried link? I’d cancel my subscription!


      1. Ok, you don’t have to be mean.

        1. Admit it, Paul. Yes he did.

          1. I’ll admit nothing.

            1. THIS IS WHY HE HAD TO PAUL

              1. Saying it in ALL CAPS doesn’t make it any more true than it already is.

                1. Your tears sustain me, Paul.

                  1. I’m not crying!

                    *runs out of room crying*

                2. This is what happens, Paul.

                  1. Why does everyone end posts directed towards Paul with the word Paul? Do people just like saying Paul?

                    1. You’re killing your father, Paul.

                    2. Screw all you guys!

                      You know they say that we learn far more in life from our mistakes than we do from our successes…

                      I can tell you that my life has been one long, intense educational experience. I’m learning right now, as I type this.

                      What are you guys learning?

                      Who’s the richer man, I ask? You, with all of your careful reading before commenting, or me, with my fire-from-the-hip style where I learn from the errors of my ways?

                      …I guess it’s you, isn’t it. Richer, and smarter….

                    3. It’s ok Paul., you’re not human. This doesn’t affect you.

                    4. Leave Paul alone, ArchPaul PaulFan Paul. He’s pauled enough for Paul paul paul. Paul.

                    5. yeah well what the hell happened to the Penguins

                    6. yeah well what the hell happened to the Penguins

                      At least none of our $7+ million players got their brains scrambled.

                    7. This sub-thread is an excellent compliment to the video! I have really enjoyed it. It just works!

                    8. I thought that you’re tearing me apart video was going to be from The Room, Buttnaked. I’ll make up for your moral and personal failures.


                      Whatever, Butt Naked. At least you aren’t that fucker Paul.

                    9. If I woke up as Paul one morning, and proceeded to start making bullshit claims about hat tips and shit, I’d cut my own dick off with a spoon.

                      Side note…

                      Paul is the star, director and writer of The Room. True story.

                    10. Well then we shouldn’t be mocking him, we should be holding some sort of festival or virgin sacrifice in his honor.

                    11. …or virgin sacrifice in his honor.

                      Look man, Episiarch is an asshole sometimes, but I don’t think he deserves to die.

                    12. Dude, this is a libertarian political site. I’m sure there are plenty of virgins for us to choose from.

                    13. Can we call Epi a virgin with the stories coming out of Warty’s lair?

                    14. What Warty does can’t be described as sex. There is no word for what Warty does, save ancient scribblings written in a long forgotten tongue.


    2. This sort of abuse is why Lucy left reason. 🙁

    3. my friend’s step-mother makes $73 every hour on the internet. She has been laid off for 7 months but last month her pay was $15173 just working on the internet for a few hours. Read more on this web site…

  2. Oh shit, it is there. HOw’d I miss that? *embarassed*

    1. I forgive you Paul.


      1. I was just looking out for you. Can a man be faulted for trying to protect your honor?

        And in the first sentence? Who does that? Hat tips always go at the end of the post. This place fell apart after Virginia Postrel left.

        And now that Cavanaugh’s gone, the number of blogpost typos and misspellings have gone through the roof!

        1. No Paul, you cannot not be faulted for attempting to protect my honor.

          But the day I feel my “honor” is threatened by a missed hat tip is the day I probably need to leave the internet alone for a while.

          1. You know, there was a time when hat tips were highly coveted, and then after that, there was a time when descriptive hat tips became even more coveted. Just getting a hat tip was… meh… but if you got an adjective by your name? Most of this, of course predated Mr. Shackford’s time here. He’s a relative newcomer ’round these parts.

            There was a lot of jealousy in those heady days.

            Many Hit & Runners have hat tips, but only a few have descriptive ones.

            1. Yeah, I don’t get out of bed for anything less than a descriptive hat tip.

              Unless someone can assure me that I’ll have the opportunity during the day to wade knee deep in orphan’s blood. Then I get out of bed right quick!

        2. Do you also throw your coat over puddles for Tman?

          1. Depends on what’s in it for me.

            1. Paul is very chivalrous…for a price.

        3. When did Cavana Ugh leave reason?

          1. We’re told he lurks around for the print edition.

            1. They still have those?

              1. The pile on my floor says yes or it would if you weren’t dead.

  3. LOL the last one is the best.

    I wonder though how many times people have tried this and gotten arrested.

    1. At least once

    2. “LOL the last one is the best.”

      Yeah, that last one was the best that B.P. agent just smiled; he knew he had been completely shut down. The comedy mastermind stammering idiot from the “agriculture police” (I guess) was funny too. I hope didn’t give him any of those 1.4 billion bullets. He was like a drunken guy in a dark room, fumbling around for a light switch that wasn’t there. Priceless comedy genius…

    3. wonder though how many times people have tried this and gotten arrested.

      I believe there’s a guy that does(did) this regularly– there’s a video where he won’t even roll down his window. I’m not sure if he was included because I haven’t seen the whole montage. From what I understand, at one incident, he was finally pulled from his vehicle and severely beaten.

      1. “he was finally pulled from his vehicle and severely beaten.

        Yeah, I remember that guy. He was a preist, or minister, or some shit… it was on a run from vegas or to L.A.


  4. What I’m curious about is how did some of those actually end?

    I didn’t get a chance to watch each encounter, but many the encounter videos are cut before the resolution is there, correct?

    1. In a lot of them the agents just wave them through, free to go. And dripping with awesome.


  6. Almost immediately, protests greet Ottawa’s newly named basketball team, the TomaHawks

    In other news, there’s a Canadian Professional Basketball League.

    1. They should just say the team is named after a compliment in Spanish, that their players resemble the agility and fearlessness of skateboarder Tony Hawk.

      Take Hawk!
      Toma Hawk!

  7. Tough to pick a favorite out of the entire video, but I did enjoy the red mustached menace who brought back a big binder full immigration law-babble to hold up the window as if this somehow supersedes the Bill of Rights. SETTLE DOWN STUMPY.

    “Why dontchya come in to mah offiss and I’ll ecksplain it to yous.”

    HAHA! What a maroon.

  8. nice…


    1. Which one was you, turd?

  9. I think what really takes balls is the people who refuse to comply with the physical requests: Pull up over there, drive over there and park.

    I’d be very leary about not complying with those. Seems like the short path to getting shot in this day and age.

    Even that guy from Ron Paul’s campaign who had $4000 on his person when going through airport security said he was careful to comply with all the physical requests. He just refused to answer their questions.

    1. Yeah, the Ron Paul campaign treasurer was a piss poor choice for strong arm police state tatics. Old ladies and crippled children are much softer targets.

    2. The ones who straight up just say “no” to these feds, I totally agree, that takes cojones. (Don’t arrest me officer, I’m not actually Mexican that’s just a figure of speech!)

      It seems like most of these folks are careful not to actively refuse to comply, they simply ask questions in response to orders. If you are told to “go over there” it seems reasonable to ask if you are being detained – perhaps he is asking you to move because a meteor is headed straight at you from the sky. In which case I would kindly thank him for his suggestion and move, post-haste.

      1. Most of the BP’ers said “Will you do me a favor and pull over there?” Seems like they were trained to ask or tell the driver “to do them a favor” which is a willing surrender.

        One BP’er obviously knew the driver knew the drill and didn’t waste any time letting him move on, but most of these jagoffs were incredulous that a driver questioned them.

  10. Is this particular individual the unfit mother?

    OK, this particular individual is unscannable.

    1. So, the cops are the only people who haven’t become any dumber by 2505?

  11. Wow, that was infuriating to watch. Those were a scant few out of the hundreds of thousands who meekly acquiesce. I haz a sad.

  12. This is amazing to me. I would think that if this is indeed unconstitutional that it couldn’t be done on a daily, routine, institutionalized scale like this without the ACLU or someone going apeshit and suing and shutting it down. I don’t know the law on this but it seems like this is at minimum a good way to get your day extremely fucked up even if you don’t get arrested or something. Is it all just a big bluff? Maybe one of you guys who live and breathe this stuff would explain it, please. I think I might like to try it sometime but I’d really like to know what I’m doing.

    1. The supreme court has invented a “border zone” to replace the border, allowing the exceptions to normal constitutional limitations on government power available at a border crossing to extend a hundred miles inland.

      You’ll note from the videos that the “immigration checks” are also being used to search for other things via the innocuous questions like “do you mind if I have a look in your trunk.” They are trying to get consent to searches and using answers to various questions as probable cause for a search if consent is withheld. They are also doing generic sweeps for outstanding warrants via the “verify your citizenship” request to pull over while they check your ID.

      1. Thank you very much Cyto.

  13. Hat tip to TMan for posting this link.


    1. Expecting people to read the AM Links comments is like expecting people to read a toilet bowl after its been used.

    2. Sorry! I did look through the comments a bit this morning but missed that one.

      1. Ha! HA! So NOW who doesn’t read?!!

        HAAA! I WINNNNN!

        *runs out of room*

          1. Don’t apologize, he’ll start to expect it and then he’ll be insufferable.

            1. Being on the internet means never having to say you’re sorry.

    3. Sorry Mensan, I never wade through all the AM links myself. I got the link from a friend on FB.

      1. You do Facebook? What kind of monster are you?

  14. Didn’t SCOTUS (stupidly) rule that traveling near the border is the same as crossing the border? You’d think that they’d drill that into their agents. It would at least give them an extra line of authority to parrot when challenged.

    I guess when they get their way 98% of the time it’s not worth even that much effort to induce another 0.5% to submit.

    1. you are referring to the “border zone”

      this is why border patrol can (and does) do immigration checkpoints for example 15 miles in from the border (that’s not the limit, just an example)

      1. like in that 1984 Madonna song, “you just keep on moving checkpoints, over the Border Zone….”

        1. you’re thinking of Kenny Loggins Danger Zone.

  15. Sharing this video from youtube to facebook has resulted in it being removed without comment by facebook. How do you like that?

  16. Finally got home from work and watched this. Fucking great. The last one where the guy spins it right around on them is genius.

    Also, border patrol checkpoint flunkies seem less thuggish than I expected; I suppose that’s a good thing.

    1. I’ve had a surprisingly good time with border patrol (unlike CHP)

      My dad ran the Canadian border once because he got tired of waiting in line and after blustering and sounding confused they let us go.

      Last time I was in Canada the US border guard on my way back asked me why I’d gone to Canada and I said “the falls and poutine” he was still laughing while he waved me on.

      1. Coming back into the US from Canada has been an almost exclusively simple experience for me. It’s going in that can be a lot more obnoxious.

        Any time you’re pushing back against a non-armed bureaucrat, it’s going to generally be a better experience than giving pushback to an armed one, because the latter can arrest you with zero consequences. The former can mostly only annoy you and waste your time.

        1. Yeah, the Canadian border guard was not amused when he asked “Are you meeting anyone in Canada?” and I responded “If I’m lucky!”

          1. historically, the canadian border guards have been unarmed. their OFFICIAL POLICY is to literally hide in the building when, for example, US police are approaching in pursuit of a felony suspect or some other danger is approaching.

            they hide and call RCMP. i have heard that this was changing and the new policy would arm them, but i am not sure if it has happened yet.

            i’ve done TONS of traveling, mostly central america, mexico, and canada, and it’s gone pretty smoothly.

            1. Department, rank, years of service and shift. Doesn’t seem like that much.

        2. When I had long hair and a full beard I was waved on by Canadian immigration but was stopped in both directions for a “random” search by US immigration both ways. Now that I am a clean shaven trim haired working stiff it is the opposite. I’m not sure who to be more angry at but I am sure that I am angry at both.

    2. From the video, it seems to work out better if you simply ask “Am I being detained?” rather than trying to start a philosophical debate with the grunt.

      1. Since I’m assuming they have to have been trained that they can’t just detain people without a (pretty good) reason, it’s a good way to approach them. It’s at least language they can understand.

        1. if you are stopped at a checkpoint, you are already being detained, so not sure what you mean . do you mean detained for secondary procedures, like search etc?

          1. On CA – AZ border you will sometimes be detained at agricultural checkpoints.

            “Do have any fruits or vegetables in your car?”

            “No sir, just Mexicans.”

            1. i used to live hawaii and we had agriculture checks at the airport there. they used machines as well as beagles.

              1. You’re HankfuckinSnow. You’ve been everywhere!

        2. RAS is the standard and it is very low.

  17. They (the agents) are uneducated. On a related note, how many people here send their kids to government-run schools?

  18. I used to drive through those checkpoints 2 and 3 times a day. One guy walks a dog past your vehicle before you get to the “question” guy. I would always politely answer the “are you a US Citizen”? and “is anyone else traveling in your vehicle”?. About 1/2 of the time I was then waved through.The other 1/2 of the time they asked more questions. My standard answer for a polite “where are you headed to today, sir?” was “East” or “North” while pointing in the direction the road went and smiling. This usually got a surprised laugh although not always. Any further questions or repeated asking of my itinerary my response was always “none of your business” followed by “I’m not going to answer your questions”. I did ask several times “how does that dog smell citizenship and visa status”? They didn’t like that one. I was never asked/told to go through secondary but a co-worker had his vehicle pulled apart and dog-slobbered on US 90 just West of Uvalde, TX. I thought you had to answer the immigration status question but that was all.

  19. “Once an honest man could go from sunrise to its set
    Without encountering agents of his state or government
    But a sorry cloud of tyranny has fallen across the land
    Brought on by the hollow men who did not understand
    So if ever a man should ask you for your business or your name
    Tell him to go and **** himself, tell his friends to do the same ‘Cause a man who’d trade his liberty for a safe and dreamless sleep Doesn’t deserve the both of them and neither shall he keep”
    –Frank Turner, “Sons of Liberty”

    1. He’s not the diary-keeping Turner.

      1. Turner and Hooch?

      2. I regret that I don’t get this reference.

  20. Patty or Selma?

    “They’re a package deal. It’s kind of a threesome with them.”

  21. speaking of warrantless entries to residence:

    Police officers knocked on a trailer door at the scene of a reported disturbance and ordered any occupants to exit with their hands up. Ronald Steen, the sole occupant, did not open the door. The officers lawfully entered the trailer through an open window under the community caretaking exception to the warrant requirement. The officers discovered and detained Steen, who refused to provide his name and date of birth. A jury convicted Steen of obstructing a law enforcement officer, RCW 9A.76.020(1), based on these facts.

    and also…

    . Furthermore, as section III explains, because Steen’s name, date of birth, and presence were not “incriminating” communications, at least as the United States Supreme Court has interpreted that term, he was not privileged under the Fifth Amendment from revealing that information. See Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial Dist. Court, 542 U.S. 177, 190?91 (2004).

    1. Now tell them about “open fields”.

      1. generally can do overhead surveillance w/o cause. however, my state is more restrictive of such searches than the federal standard. yea, privacy in the WA constitution.

        1. You can’t walk fenced and posted private property w/o a warrant in Washington?

          1. i can’t breach the fence without some indicia of cause. there is case law also that if a person has a locked gate with no trespassing etc. and i want to go to the residence for a non-emergent purpose, tough. dropped 911 call fine. looking for a suspect. nope

            im not sure exactly what you mean by “walk” but if you are referring to walking OUTSIDE the fenceline, then sure you can.

            again, there are a million reasons why you would be justified in crossing a fenceline, but you must have one of those justifications, you can’t do it just because.

            and in WA, overhead surveillance (like looking for mj) is severely more limited in curtilate etc. than it is on the federal standard.

            1. to give an example of property privacy, there was a case where the cops were looking for a specific car. they walked on to the guy’s driveway and up to the rear of the car, which was backed up to the garage door, so you had to walk back behind the car to read it (not visible from the road)

              the case was thrown out. since the driveway wasn’t the path commonly used to access the property door, etc. cops couldn’t take that alternate route to search without a warrant. stuff like that

            2. A processor server can go through a closed gate on private property in WA. I believe it is one of the two states in the country who allow it. I think the other is in CA.

    2. The officers discovered and detained Steen, who refused to provide his name and date of birth. A jury convicted Steen of obstructing a law enforcement officer, RCW 9A.76.020(1), based on these facts.

      So when the cops said “you have the right to remain silent” they were just joshing?

    3. This is why I could not be a lawyer.

      I’d see the immense illogic of this and I would spit in the judge’s face right in the courtroom and get slammed with contempt of court.

      I can’t “impede” a law enforcement officer unless I’m withholding information from him that he needs.

      But if he needs the information, that means it’s potentially incriminating. By definition.

      If he’s just asking me for information he doesn’t need, like asking if it’s a nice day, I’m not impeding him if I say “Fuck you, get lost, I won’t answer.” So as soon as he claims I’m impeding him he should be estopped from arguing that the information is not potentially incriminating.

      Unless he explicitly informs me that I’m a witness and not a suspect and immunizes me for my statement with a notarized document from the DA right there on the spot, any communication is potentially incriminating.

    4. The difference between a checkpoint and Steen is that the police had reasonable suspicion in the form of the report of a disturbance. If they have reasonable suspicion, you have to identify yourself (truthfully).

      The point of the montage is not that people are resisting, but they’re resisting *lawfully* and *intelligently*.

      If the police can state reasonable suspicion or probable cause for stopping you, it is no longer intelligent to refuse to truthfully identify yourself.

      You make them state the reasonable suspicion, while you’re recording the events, so that they can’t just make something up later and so that the court can dispute later whether that really was reasonable suspicion.

      Say, for example, the officer responded to “I have to ask your reasonable suspicion for asking me the original question” by “Because you didn’t answer my question.” And followed, “No, what was your reasonable suspicion for asking me that first question?” with “You’re under arrest.” (etc., etc.)

      As long as you don’t resist the arrest and you keep following the script, your having the video that he arrested you without really having even reasonable suspicion, let alone probable cause, is enough to win you a lawsuit for false arrest. Depending on the details, it may be enough to let you sue the officer *personally* for violation of civil rights under color of law (which negates his immunity).

      Steen is an example of what not to do.

  22. Any lawyers care to chime in on what is and is not “legal” in regards to these DHS stops? Is it lawful to refuse to give your name? Do they have to have probably cause to detain? What exactly does “detain” mean in this case? Seems to me, if they ask you to pull over into a separate lane and impede you from going on about your business, that’s being detained, but I could be wrong.

    1. It’s like any police stop, they can’t keep you without probable cause and you don’t have to answer any questions.

      But they lie and usually are able to intimidate people into giving an answer that might give them probable cause (or they’ll make it up, usually with the dog).

      “Detain” and “free to go” are very specific legal terms with regards to police stops, which is why the makers of these videos use that exact language.

      That’s why they also say “do me a favor and pull over there” or “I’m gonna have to ask you to go over there.” They can’t make you go – and *detain* you – without probably cause, but they sure hope you agree to go voluntarily. If you refuse then their only options are to arrest you (for what?) or let you go. That’s what these videos demonstrate.

      DWI checkpoints work pretty much the same way, FWIW.

      1. They also rely on the fact that humans are hardwired to obey someone in uniform.

      2. I’m not a lawyer.

    2. It used to be you didn’t have to answer anything. Now, if they have “reasonable suspicion” that you’re engaged in illegal activity, you have to identify yourself truthfully. You don’t have to get into whether you’re a citizen or not or anything that could later be incriminating, but you do have to truthfully say who you are. And never, never, ever lie to them about *anything*.

      You also have to *tell them* if you are exercising your fifth amendment right to remain silent. “I am exercising my right to remain silent and will not answer any questions without my attorney present.”

      No, it’s not detaining you if they *ask* your to pull over into a separate lane, etc. It’s detaining you if they *order* you to do it. And if you keep asking them for what their reasonable suspicion is for detaining you, you get it on record whether they have any or not so they can’t make it up later. Once they *order* you to pull over and commit, on the record, to what their reasonable suspicion was, they’ve started entering territory where you have the potential grounds to sue them.

      The trick here is complying with what is clearly ordered, but not consenting to one particle more. The trick here is following the law while making it clear for the lawsuit later that you did not *consent*. Courts will find “consent” in the most innocuous things, which is why you have to follow a careful script to walk the fine line between a consensual encounter between you and the officer versus resisting arrest.

  23. I’ve done this. It’s nerve-racking as hell. Now, I just avoid places where I know there are checkpoints.

    1. I did once leave a thank you note sarcastically thanking the officer for turning the country into nazi germany or communist china… In retrospect, that was a really stupid time to be doing this, since I was travelling cross country between san diego and DC and literally all of my possessions were in my car, if they had searched, it would have been hell and a half.

      If I were president, I would erect one of these on the 14th street bridge, and then randomly select DHS border personnel for “special training and honor duty”, and have them do what they do on the 14th street bridge crossing into DC.

      This shit only goes down because it’s out of sight, out of mind for the politicos inside the beltway, since it’s in the southwest – as far as you can get from the capitol and still be in the contiguous 48.

      1. That’s not really true though, for a while in NYC the police were randomly stopping and frisking people.

        The sad truth is, people will accept living in a police state

        1. You are right, but if it were closer I think it would stop.

    1. Pure quackery. Any half-rate food lab can determine the alcohol %. InBev is way too smart to do something so stupid.

  24. Someone needs to make a techno remix of “Am I being detained?”

  25. Lots of security to not enforce any laws anyway. Odd.

  26. Watching people resist authority gives me a woody.

  27. Sounds liek some pretty crazy stuff man, Wow.

  28. I am seriously surprised none of those people were dragged out of their vehicles and severely beaten.

    1. I am seriously surprised none of those people were dragged out of their vehicles and severely beaten.

      The first guy in the video is quite well known in some circles for repeatedly fucking with these guys and eventually getting his ass kicked one night on the interstate in Arizona.…..atrol.html

      He was eventually acquitted of all charges. Lots of videos out there showing the absolutely brutal beating and the clown show that happened when they eventually took him to court for not being subservient enough.

    2. We don’t know that they weren’t – about 1/2 of them ended before the scenario ended.

      1. I would have assumed that if a beating had occurred that the entire video would have been “lost,” not just the end.

        1. Bambuser.

          Video directly to the cloud.

          Continues audio even when video shut off. Makes for a better payday when replaying the cop conversation just before the iphone goes into the terlit.

  29. My friend & I were pulled over near (10-15 miles away) the NY/Canada border by the border patrol. They officer stated we were pulled over for having NJ plates and he needed to search the car for drugs and human cargo. We took the forth and waited for a K-9 unit. Unfortunately the dog found my girlfriend’s migraine medicine, after she declared it and the officer told her that particular medication would not alert the dog. Upon looking at the bottle he saw that it contain opiate and apologized. We were kinda fucked since they now had probable cause, but the k-9 officer was not an idiot (unlike the one that pulled over for being from the far away land of NJ)and let us go instead of ripping the car apart.

    1. “the dog found my girlfriend’s migraine medicine”. I think you mean, the dog “alerted” in the general vicinity of your girlfriend’s migraine medicine.

  30. The agg check points are there to simply protect the local crops from pest carried by fruits and vegitables, all you ever have to say is I don’t have anything even with an RV. I know I do it several times a year. though that is at the Truckee station on Hwy80 where there is so much traffic they don’t have time to waist.

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