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More payback from the Adminstration.

Via USA Today

ARIVACA, Ariz. — For the past seven years, anyone driving out of this small town on either of the main roads north has had to pass through a “temporary” Border Patrol checkpoint. Agents also rove along the local roads, frequently stopping vehicles.

Over those years, many residents say they’ve gotten little response from the Border Patrol to complaints about harassment and abusive behavior by agents, about traffic delays and inconvenience. They’ve gotten no answer when they’ve asked how many undocumented migrants or loads of drugs either of the checkpoints flanking their town actually intercept.

So, in February, local residents and activists began to monitor the Border Patrol checkpoint on the road from Arivaca to Interstate 19, four hours a day, three to five days a week. And to date, they say, they have yet to see a migrant apprehended or person arrested for drugs or anything else.

“Every time we pass through, we have to be scrutinized and asked questions that don’t relate to citizenship,” Peter Ragan said one recent sunny morning.

Ragan, wearing a bright yellow safety vest, watched from the gravel shoulder as an agent questioned a man driving a white Ford pickup. “The justification is supposed to be immigration, but really, it’s focused on general law enforcement: ‘Where are you going? What are you doing? Is this your vehicle?'”

From Maine to California, the Border Patrol operates scores of similar checkpoints on roads and highways up to 100 miles from the border. Customs and Border Protection, or CBP, acknowledges 35 “permanent” checkpoints, mostly on interstates and larger highways, but declines to specify where or how many ostensibly temporary or “tactical” checkpoints the agency operates; agency documents reviewed by The Arizona Republic indicate the capacity to operate as many as 200 checkpoints.

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Border Patrol’s use of checkpoints away from the border to verify residency status in a 1976 ruling, U.S. vs. Martinez-Fuerte. In that case, affirming the conviction of a man for transporting two undocumented immigrants, the court said that questions at immigration checkpoints must be brief, minimally intrusive and immigration-focused, and that any “further detention … must be based on consent or probable cause.”

But as the number of interior Border Patrol checkpoints has grown since 9/11, so have complaints that agents routinely expand the scope of their questions and searches far beyond what that ruling envisioned, that interior checkpoints and patrols interfere with constitutionally protected rights and that the checkpoints effectively militarize huge swaths of U.S. territory.

In the case of the Arivaca checkpoint, monitors maintain that the Border Patrol operates it primarily to force migrants to hike farther through the desert. As another monitor, Bobbie Chitwood, put it, “They know they’re pushing people further out.”

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HT Theo Spark

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