Earlier this week, John Stossel wrote about patrolmen without borders.
Even as the federal government fails to control the southern border, it sends the Border Patrol farther into the interior, where Americans complain that agents harass people who are already U.S. citizens.
It's legal. The Supreme Court ruled that the Border Patrol can set up "inland" checkpoints anywhere up to 100 miles from an external border of the United States. That's what government now considers a "reasonable distance" from the border.
But that means the zone within which you could be stopped and searched includes much of Florida and California, and all of Maine and New Hampshire. Two-thirds of America's population lives that close to the border.
Border Patrol currently assigns a sizable number of agents to monitor interior checkpoints. Considering today's border crisis, this raises questions of resource allocation, among other civil liberty issues. Reason TV covered the topic back in 2013. Watch "Holding Border Patrol Accountable: Terry Bressi on Recording his 300+ Checkpoint Interactions," produced by Tracy Oppenheimer. About 7 minutes.
Original release date was November 18, 2013 and original write-up is below.
"This is not increasing our security, in fact, it's making us less secure. It's just feeding an empire building, it's feeding agency budgets, and job security for various law enforcement agencies," says the University of Arizona's Terry Bressi of in-country immigration checkpoints.
Bressi sat down with ReasonTV's Tracy Oppenheimer to discuss these checkpoints and their implications for civil liberties. Bressi estimates that he has been stopped by border patrol between 300-350 times. After his first encounter, he started carrying cameras and audio recording equipment, and has since been videotaping his checkpoint interactions. He says this holds officers accountable for their actions, and he hopes that by posting these videos online, citizens will become more aware of their rights.
"A federal agent who is standing in the middle of a public highway, wearing a public uniform, collecting a public paycheck while seizing the public absent reasonable suspicion has no expectation of privacy," says Bressi in regards to filming border patrol agents. "This is something that I like to remind folks of, that the government thinks that we don't have any right to privacy whatsoever, but that's a double-edged sword."
For more of Bressi's checkpoint videos, visit his YouTube channel.
About 7 minutes.
Produced by Tracy Oppenheimer, shot by Zach Weissmueller.
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