MENU

Reason.com

Free Minds & Free Markets

Detained for 19 Days: Immigration Checkpoint Refusal Gone Wrong

You’ve probably seen them before: internal border checkpoint refusals, now a popular YouTube genre. Some are funny. Others are hostile. But for Greg Rosenberg, a naturalized U.S. citizen who speaks accented English, an encounter with South Texas border patrol resulted in weeks of jail time without a single charge being prosecuted.

Rosenberg immigrated to America 10 years ago from Armenia. Memories and family stories of Soviet rule in his country of origin infused him with strong political beliefs and a reverence for individual rights.

"Back then [in Soviet-controlled Armenia], if you complained about the government, they took you to Siberia," says Rosenberg.

So perhaps it’s no surprise that Rosenberg is a checkpoint protester. As a long-haul trucker, he has to drive through these all the time. After all, there are about 170 of them scattered across the United States. And keep in mind, these checkpoints aren’t on an actual border. They just have to be within 100 miles of one. The ACLU estimates that roughly two-thirds of the nation’s population lives within this 100-mile zone.

Rosenberg's ordeal began in the border town of Laredo, TX. He and his friend pulled onto I-35 North at around midnight on September 26 in a truck carrying a load of Xerox machines destined for Ft. Worth. But only 29 miles north of the border, they’d encounter the Laredo North Border Patrol Station. And Greg would undergo a checkpoint interrogation like he’d never experienced before.

"They arrested me for what I looked like, but they pressed the charges because of my beliefs," says Rosenberg.

To see the full story of the encounter that led to Rosenberg's 19-day detainment on charges of "resisting, assaulting, or impeding arrest," watch the video above. Scroll down for downloadable versions. Approximately 9 minutes. Shot, produced, and edited by Zach Weissmueller.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Shaftoe||

    Come on spam-bot, make your randomly generated numbers make sense!

    Your buddy's MIL considers 325 hours in a month just "a few"? 80 hour weeks are hardly "out of work."

  • WriteInButtons NODIEBOLD||

    Need a mark as junk link to flag you.

  • MSimon||

    Does she have to do her step-nephew to get it?

  • cpmondello@gmail.com||

    @MSimon LMFAO

  • John Galt||

    Had a little finding myself time driving truck over the road a little over a decade ago. Never did like those internal checkpoints. Getting a little too close to the Soviet/Fascist way of doing things for my comfort. Nonetheless, since it was very seldom I knew for sure what was in the trailer I was pulling it just seemed like good sense to answer the questions and get waved through.

  • Paul.||

    But did you answer them with am accent? Because if you do, sometimes you don't get waved through

  • susanwsutton||

    my best friend's mother-in-law makes $88 an hour on the laptop . She has been without a job for ten months but last month her check was $12564 just working on the laptop for a few hours. check out here.........
    ➜➜➜➜➜ http://www.netjob70.com

  • WriteInButtons NODIEBOLD||

    SCOTUS recently ruled it's ok for cops to be ignorant of the law. By a -- get this -- 9 to 1 vote, cops don't even have to know local laws about brake lights because that's too difficult for them to reasonably grasp according to SCOTUS:
    http://www.infowars.com/u-s-su.....f-the-law/

  • DaveSs||

    Did Obama pack the court with one more or something?

    9+1 = 10

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    Oh, don't worry, sometimes they humor Biden by letting him play Justice, but not when the vote is close.

  • ||

    Holy fuck the spambots are getting bad.

  • tarran||

    You can kill about 80% of them by filtering out:

    good-reports
    Jobs-spot
    jobsfish
    max34
    paygazette
    payinsider
    work4hour
    moneykin
    netjob70
    www.snag4.com

    It's such a short list that I can't believe Reason's webmaster hasn't yet implemented it.

  • Zunalter||

    Have you seen the 90's throwback tech that IS the Reason Comment Section?? What makes you think they even have a Webmaster? Webapprentice maybe.

  • ||

    I blame you personally.

  • Almanian!||

    I blame Bush

  • Zunalter||

    Blame Canada?

  • ||

    You know who else blamed Bush?

  • Jordan||

    But... but... he could have been coming here to take our welfare or our JERBS!!1

  • Zeb||

    The internal checkpoints are an abomination and clearly illegal, no matter what any court says. No citizen should even be mildly inconvenienced by the enforcement of immigration laws when not crossing a border.

  • albo||

    I can't be the only one who sees those checkpoint videos and wants to go into "Hulk Smash" mode, am I?

  • Super Kevin Horlock||

    Meaning "smash the fucking retarded idiots that turn a 15 second conversation into some drawn-out bullshit that inconveniences maybe hundreds of people?"

    If so you are not alone. Fucking nobheads trying to get youtube likes. Going to change anything? No. Going to end up with the Border Agent "finding" drugs or something in your vehicle because you pissed him off? Maybe yes.

  • Cytotoxic||

    ITT, fascists blaming the victim.

  • Federale||

    Sorry dummies, this is not about a search, but about questioning as to citizenship. He did not answer he was a U.S. citizen, so the USBP had the authority to detain him to determine citizenship. This is completely different from the question of whether there was probable cause that he resisted or impeded the US Border Patrol Agents when he refused to answer the question and resisted arrest in violation of 18 United States Code Section 111. "(1)forcibly assaults, resists, opposes, impedes, intimidates, or interferes with any person designated in section 1114 of this title while engaged in or on account of the performance of official duties"

    He was certainly and obviously opposing, impeding and interfering with the US Border Patrol Agents. And you need only one of those elements.

    So, aside from being an ass, he could have avoided all of this by calmly stating his citizenship. But, no, he could not do that, even though he had obviously done it before.

  • wwhorton||

    Ok, so you're aware that this happened in Texas, nearly 30 miles from the border, right? You don't have a problem with Border Patrol running checkpoints within the borders of the United States? As opposed to, say, the actual border? If not, just understand that I, this guy, and lots of people here have a huge problem with internal checkpoints, and that's the issue here. I don't care if he was actively impeding the Border Patrol in Laredo; that's not the border, so as far as I'm concerned they've got no business there to impede.

  • Federale||

    Obviously you did not address my points. This was not a search. So the whole video was misdirection and dishonest. The USBP was not seeking to search him, but merely requested an oral declaration of citizenship. When you address this issue, the dishonesty of Reason, get back to me on the checkpoint issue. I've been through those checkpoints many times and all I say is American citizen and I'm on my way.

  • Cytotoxic||

    The USBP was not seeking to search him, but merely requested an oral declaration of citizenship.

    To which they have no right.

  • Federale||

    Sorry homey, SCOTUS has said they do.

  • Cytotoxic||

    "Papers please."

  • woodNfish||

    Federale = Nazi. Nothing more needs to be said.

  • Federale||

    Godwin's Law strikes again. I win the argument because you are clearly a moron, as are most pot-head libertarians.

  • Brochettaward||

    If the Supreme Court says you don't have to answer the question, then how is not answering it grounds to detain anyone? It's not regardless of how they decide to interpret the law.

    If they can detain you for not answer, then you must answer them.

    And if it was a violation, why did they release him? You are full of shit. They are full of shit.

    Are you a border patrol agent, by chance? Go fuck yourself.

  • Federale||

    Fuck you you ignorant ass-hole. Obviously you are too stupid to live. The Supreme Court decision in question was quoted in the context of a search. This incident was not a search, but a checkpoint for citizenship check. Supreme Court has ruled those are allowed. He was too dumb to give an oral declaration of citizenship, as are dumb pot-heads like you. Get off welfare you ignorant jackwad.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Wow what an erudite one we have here. How is fishing for citizenship not a search?

  • Federale||

    Because its a question, not a search.

  • Federale||

    What race was he supposedly profiled as? White? He was considered a an alien because he was Caucasian? No, he was reasonably considered to be an alien because he had a foreign accent. His attorney is not very bright.

    Also, I noticed that nothing was said about how and why he was held for two weeks. We know that he was taken to a Magistrate Judge within 24 hours of his arrest. He must have refused to sign a bond, so its his own fault for his two week stay in jail. Unless the Magistrate Judge found that he was unlikely to appear or was a threat. Or he could not afford a bond, but even then, he would have been most likely released on his own recognizance unless he refused to sign an agreement to appear.

    What is not reported would fill volumes. Why is Reason using this cheap technique of not addressing all the issues?

  • Zeb||

    So the fuck what? The internal checkpoints are the problem. They should be completely illegal under a plain reading of the constitution. People who refuse to cooperate with them are doing nothing wrong. No one should cooperate with them. The only reason not to is if you don't have time to waste. The people who bother to fuck with the border patrol pigs are to be congratulated.

  • Cytotoxic||

    This. Fuck the bordertards.

  • Jayburd||

    Probable cause,,, or consent,,,, to be detained. Pretty simple.

  • Federale||

    No, to be searched. Determination of citizenship needs neither probable cause or consent.

    http://tinyurl.com/k8tnku4

    Facts, not stupid opinions.

    This case was not a search, but a citizenhip issue under U.S. v. Martinez-Fuerte. Before you mouth off and confirm to the world you are stupid, do a little research. Both you and Reason are wrong, stupidly wrong.

  • Cytotoxic||

    It's still a search as far as I am concerned. They are fishing for citizenship.

  • Brochettaward||

    No - they are clearly implying that the dumb fucks at the check point can't differentiate between an Arab accent and an Armenian one. So, that was the profiling and this was stated pretty explicitly in the video.

    They had no right to detain him and no right to make him bond himself out. Not legally and not based on basic human decency.

  • Federale||

    Again, more proof that libertarians are stupid. What does "Arab accent" have to do with this? His accent provided reasonable suspicion to stop and detain him to verify his status in the United States. See Terry v. Ohio. An Arab accent has nothing to do with this. Clearly you are too stupid to survive much longer without your monthly welfare check.

  • Cytotoxic||

    His accent provided reasonable suspicion to stop and detain him to verify his status in the United States.

    Then America is a police state and it's thanks to cunts like you.

  • Federale||

    Libertarians are so mature.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Where are our limited government conservative allies?

  • woodNfish||

    The RNC either killed them or sold them to the DNC for sexual slavery.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Best answer!

  • Federale||

    Waiting for you left-libertarians to stop supporting affirmative action, gun bans, lower government spending, and stop killing babies.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Then they're waiting for the end of something that has never happened or in the case of abortion waiting for something that will never end. Of course this is all just a BS excuse for the real answer-conservatives love big authoritarian government. Lets them get their anti-foreigner rocks off.

  • Federale||

    Because all those immigrants are voting for lower welfare spending and lower taxes. Libertarians just aren't that bright.

  • martae||

    You go Greg! You are an inspiration. I hope you take all those bastards pensions away from them. That's what really hurts a government employee.

  • cpmondello@gmail.com||

    "....But for Greg Rosenberg, a naturalized U.S. citizen who speaks accented English, an encounter with South Texas border patrol resulted in weeks of jail time without a single charge being prosecuted."

    Thanks to the Patriot Act, and all its incarnations and name changes, it is perfectly legal to lock-up anyone for any reason for any amount of time without telling them anything. Post 9-11 America. When GW Bush was in WH, if you dared question this, you were called a "terrorist sympathizer" and told "if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to worry about", at least by all conservatives I conversed with at the time.

  • ||

    The 19 days is probably a little harsh, but I have zero sympathy for him. He got what he deserved. The best approach is almost always to do what the police say. Sue afterwards if you must, but it's "yes, sir, no, sir." I would understand noncompliance if he wanted to give you a strip search, but moving your truck to the center? Listen, I'm all for individual rights, but not individual stupidity.

  • Harold Falcon||

    Fuck you, statist. You should never cooperate with the pigs. They are not your friends. You have constitutional rights for a reason.

  • Federale||

    You don't have a constitutional right to refuse to answer a citizenship question at a border checkpoint. But in the end he was arrested for interfering with an officer, not for refusing a search. In fact, there was no search at issue. It was just one simple question, What is your citizenship.

    Libertarians just can't debate without resulting to profanity. Very mature.

  • ||

    Since when is it resisting or impeding arrest to know the law, not break the law, and to tell law enforcement that?

  • Alan@.4||

    Should the gentleman opt to bring suit against the federal government and or individual agencies/employees, I imagine that he has the right to so do. He also has my very best wishes for success re bringing suit against the federal government, it's agencies or employees. Were I he, bringing suit is something I too would try.

  • Federale||

    And he will lose. He was not stopped to be searched, but asked a legal question about his citizenship at a legal checkpoint. He has no case. He was not held incommunicado for 19 days. After his arrest, the magistrate judge offered him release on bond, but he refused to sign the promise to appear, hence he was held in custody until the case was dismissed.

  • Free Society||

    end the state

  • Heronblade||

    Federale,

    You are wrong. 18 usc 111 only applies if the motorist used "physical force" to resist or impede. At a port of entry on the actual border people must answer a customs agents questions. At an inland border patrol checkpoint NO ONE is required by law to speak with a border patrol agent or answer their questions. The burden is on the agent to determine citizenship not the motorist. Go back and read your applied authorities book from Artesia. Your making Border Patrol Agents look bad.

Click here to follow Reason on Instagram

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online