Friday, September 17, 2010

Border Patrol: worse than Arizona

The state of Arizona has come under immense criticism for passing a law essentially requiring all citizens and residents to carry proof of citizenship or legal residency with them at all times.

However, this report from North Country Public Radio points out that the Border Patrol is doing very much same thing.

Basically, if you live within 100 miles of the border, you need to carry your passport or green card with you at all times or else risk being detained. Remember that next time you drive to the grocery store to get a gallon of milk.

In many ways, this is worse than the Arizona law. While the controversial situation in the southwest was implemented by the normal legislative process, the Border Patrol did this by nebulous and unaccountable "policy."

Additionally, at least the Arizona law forces authorities to fake some sort of pretext. The Border Patrol can demand proof of citizenship from anyone or search their laptops or whatever for no reason far away from the border.

This story evokes memories of my time living in West Africa, where I needed to carry my documents with me at all times in case I ran into a military checkpoint.

So you think if you're here legally, you have nothing to worry about? Not quite.
Since 90% of all New Yorkers and 2/3 of all Americans live within 100 miles of the border, the 4th Amendment apparently doesn't apply in most of the country.

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