Citizens’ Growing Protests against Border Patrol Checkpoints Inside the U.S.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015
Border Patrol agent removes driver from his car (photo: YouTube)

Some Americans are refusing to answer questions at Border Patrol checkpoints set up many miles away from U.S. borders, believing the questions posed by Border Patrol agents are unacceptable for law abiding citizens.


Many of these protestors are also using their dashboard cameras to record their encounters with agents, some of whom have resorted to breaking windows, dragging motorists from their vehicles and detaining them, according to The Houston Chronicle.


The newspaper reports “these travelers are among the latest to join what appears to be an informal alliance of people, possibly into the hundreds, recording their encounters at Border Patrol checkpoints,” and that “some of the travelers appear to be making a stand for what they say are their rights and contend that the government, which has long drawn support for doing whatever is needed to protect the nation's borders, is going too far.”


These checkpoints are not at international points of entry to the U.S. nor necessarily within close proximity to the U.S. border, but farther inland, within a 100-mile distance of U.S. borders and coasts. It has been estimated that between 34 and 170 such checkpoints exist inland from the U.S.-Mexico border.


Dash-cam footage showed agents smashing the car window of Navy veteran Thomas Sauer, 26, then forcibly yanking him from his car after he chose to “opt out” of discussing his citizenship. The agents read him his rights, including that he had the “right to remain silent,” which Sauer found ironic.


“I did it because I don't agree with the premise of questioning citizens without suspicion,” Sauer told the Chronicle. “Those type of interactions should be left at the border.”


Sauer spent several hours being detained by agents before being released. He was not charged with a crime but was fingerprinted. The incident apparently led to his being fired from his job, reported the Chronicle’s Dane Schiller.


The video footage of these incidents is typically posted online and gets millions of views.


Border Patrol’s parent agency, Customs and Border Protection (CBP), said in a prepared statement that “Border Patrol agents may lawfully question the (vehicle) occupants about their citizenship and place of birth, and may request documented proof of immigration status and how an individual status was obtained.” But it added that agents at these checkpoints don’t automatically have the authority to conduct searches of motorists or their vehicles.


“Often, local citizens are subjected to extended interrogation and detainment” ACLU attorney Mitra Ebadolahi told UT San Diego. “These are mini police-state zones.”

-Danny Biederman, Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Citizens Defy Border Patrol by Staying Silent with Video Cameras (by Dane Schiller, Houston Chronicle)

Checkpoints Push Buttons, Boundaries (by Peter Rowe, UT San Diego)

Legal Residents Claim They are Punished for Living Near Mexican Border (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

See all 52 comments


Nick da dick 9 years ago
i was on the greyhound going from Cleveland to buffalo ny and in Erie pa border patrol got on the bus and asked everyone their citizenship I responded me habla no English....and kept walking...they can kiss my ass
Jeff 9 years ago
Of course CBC says they have the legal right to harass American citizens, that's like asking the proverbial fox to watch the henhouse. If the "border patrol" is interested in securing the border, they seriously need to get their asses to the border. Should just run their asses down but then there is that whole "can of worms" thing nobody wants to open.
Roland 9 years ago
Well said Colby. We can't complain about the lack of enforcement with illegals, and then cop an attitude when LEO's want a quick "show & tell" w/you. Lots of Americans are involved in criminal activity smuggling people, drugs, etc. But there are limits to that cooperation.
Jean 9 years ago
It is the first steps of martial law. The nasty treatment of citizens.
William 9 years ago
Bottom line is the federal government refusal to do there job when it comes to the illegals in criminal in itself. These check points are a farce, just like the welfare agents Working the airports. False sense of security.
colby 9 years ago
Ok first everyone has to get real about how the border really works. I live within the 100 mile free fire zone called the border of Mexico and Texas. First line of defense are agents on the river, sensors on trails and areal survelence. Second line of defense are these border check points deep in the desert or ranch country talked about in the article above. These have been there for decades, its nothing new. The country north of the border is very inhospitable and these border check points are the areas where illegals have to get out and walk miles in very unforgiven country with risk of dieing from dehydration, snake bite, scorpions, infections from thorns... these illegals are typically unprepared for such a journey and most give them self up at ranch houses because they have had members die on this part of the route. This is where the liberals pushing the Dreamers or lack of prosecution of illegals have blood on their hands. I would guess only a handful of the bodies are found. So everyone who is bitching about being stopped needs to get real. If your beligerent to the agents at the check points yes they are going to pull you out and dismantle your car to find what your hiding. Get real, do something like vote out these yahoo's that are tieing the hands of ICE to do their job or Gutierrez who is giving instructions on his gov't web site on how to illegally get in the country and stay. We are the only 1st world country that recognizes anchor babies as citizens... that is the madness that needs to stop, not being an asshole to BP agents.
Drew 9 years ago
Normally, I would not support such action by the USBP. However, many illegals (yes, I said it) are picked up by traffickers on highways well past border checkpoints. USBP has had fairly decent success stopping a range of illegal activity at these "inland" stops well past the border.
john-henry:west 9 years ago
Bottom line is the fact that US citizens are enemy belligerents occupying conquered territory under the War Powers Act of 1933. Please read the 39 page paper linked below to understand what has happened to the once free people of our republic.
Billy Edwards 9 years ago
Shut up & welcome to the Police State. Now, all young males 12-17 need to own a slingshot,gather lots of smooth stones, get a sheet of paper for target and go in backyard or other safe place & practice,practice,practice because when the time come we may need all hands on who can help us overthrow this monster to bring back the Constitution. It can't be White against Black as the gov't want but instead it has to be Black & White fighting together against the government & their agents.
MaryAnne B. Phillips 9 years ago
Recently the Supreme Court left a decision by a lower court which permitted a principal to order American students to remove tees with our flag to appease Mexicans. These Americans were told "it's their day". Only Americans were told this, the foreigners were not.

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