Border agents may stop any person and search their belongings, but that infringement on an individual’s rights has long been allowed only at the US border. To further intrude on an individual’s right to travel freely, the US Supreme Court has redefined the definition of the US Border to include 100 air-miles. According to my quick calculation, that’s from the coastline all the way to Jones County.
According to 2007 population data this 100 air miles includes over 33% (nearly 1,000,000) Mississippi citizens. If Mississippians are truly concerned about the encroachment of the Federal government, as many organizations have shown with “Obamacare”, we should try running the Border Patrol agents back to the coastline.
From the ACLU:
As a result of this claimed authority, individuals who are far away from the border, American citizens traveling from one place in America to another, are being stopped and harassed in ways that our Constitution does not permit.
Border Patrol has been setting up checkpoints inland — on highways in states such as California, Texas and Arizona, and at ferry terminals in Washington State. Typically, the agents ask drivers and passengers about their citizenship. Unfortunately, our courts so far have permitted these kinds of checkpoints – legally speaking, they are “administrative” stops that are permitted only for the specific purpose of protecting the nation’s borders. They cannot become general drug-search or other law enforcement efforts.
However, these stops by Border Patrol agents are not remaining confined to that border security purpose. On the roads of California and elsewhere in the nation – places far removed from the actual border – agents are stopping, interrogating, and searching Americans on an everyday basis with absolutely no suspicion of wrongdoing.
The bottom line is that the extraordinary authorities that the government possesses at the border are spilling into regular American streets.
This trend is also typical of the Bush Administration’s dragnet approach to law enforcement and national security. Instead of intelligent, competent, targeted efforts to stop terrorism, illegal immigration, and other crimes, what we have been seeing in area after area is an approach that turns us all into suspects. This approach seeks to sift through the entire U.S. population in the hopes of encountering the rare individual whom the authorities have a legitimate interest in.
Click here to learn more about Mississippi’s Constitution-free zone.