Border Patrol Increasingly Searching Private Property Far From the Border
A recent New York Times article details the increasingly common usage of a little-known federal law by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officers to carry out more aggressive immigration enforcement tactics. The Trump administration is defending these practices as part of its historical authority to search people and property, even without a warrant, even far from the borders, in order to protect the U.S. from the unauthorized entry of weapons and terrorists into the country. Nonetheless, the current administration admits that these types of searches have occurred with much more frequency in recent months than in the past, and CBP field supervisors have regained the ability to order these searches, rather than leaving these important directives to higher-ups in Washington. For its part, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would provide no information on how often they conducted these types of searches and how effective they are. DHS data, however, shows that less then three percent of immigrants caught entering the country without authorization were detained at immigration checkpoints located far from the U.S. border.
Reportedly, CBP officers are working on private property without the property owner’s permission and setting up immigration checkpoints that are as much as 100 miles away from the border. For instance, a Texas rancher found a surveillance camera set up on his property by CBP officers without his knowledge. CBP officials in New Hampshire set up immigration checkpoints on a major interstate highway to conduct what the American Civil Liberties Union characterizes as illegal searches. Plus, there have been complaints of CBP officials in Florida, Washington, and New York boarding buses and trains to question individuals about their immigration status, most of whom have been U.S. citizens.
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