Saying No at DHS Checkpoints

What happens when you refuse to comply with a request for information about your citizenship at an immigration checkpoint within the U.S.? Apparently, they have to let you continue on your way and you don't have answer questions or go to the secondary area. At least, that's what happens to those stopped in this video that refused -- the agents backed down.

Good to know. But why are there immigration checkpoints 30 miles from the border?

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    Love this (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Dadler on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 07:42:54 PM EST
    Coming back from Mexico once, at the literal border, it was the American officers who treated my wife, who was driving, like she was some unruly criminal when she was doing nothing but trying to figure out why she was being hassled as a mom with her husband and toddler in the car. As for distance from the border, it's probably more than fifty to the San Onofre Checkpoint in SoCal, the traffic backup it causes stretches for miles sometimes, and it always seemed to be capriciously open or closed. Pointlessly polluting is what it is, as cars pollute most when idling in that idiotic line of cars. Thanks for this post, J.

    and more polluting to freedom (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Dadler on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 07:54:03 PM EST
    of course.

    Yes, I too have been (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by fishcamp on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 09:45:50 PM EST
    through that checkpoint at San Onofre many times coming back from surfing in Mexico but just got waved through probably because I had blond hair and blue eyes.  Wonder what they would think now that I have gray hair?  Many times when we had a dark haired surfer with us we got sent to secondary and they got checked but not me.  They also took the opportunity to search the car every time.  Wish I had seen this excellent video back then.

    Truthfully, I edited.... (none / 0) (#15)
    by Dadler on Sat Mar 09, 2013 at 09:25:20 AM EST
    ...the part where I leaned past my wife in the driver's seat and all but told the INS officer, "Dude, you wanna settle this like men, cuz you have no right treating my wife like you have been." Not proud of it, but sh*t, the cat was barking at my wife in a manner that made my dear lady very upset and vulnerable. I wanted to deck that mothereffer so bad, you have no idea. But glad I didn't, since we finally got sent on our way by a much more understanding officer, who literally reaffirmed my faith in human beings.

    Makes you wonder (none / 0) (#5)
    by Slado on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 09:05:45 PM EST
    Why we libertarians are so against big government.

    The less government the less of this.

    As Government keeps getting bigger out freedoms keep getting smaller.

    Stand with Rand


    Except that...oh, the hypocrisy. (5.00 / 5) (#14)
    by Leopold on Sat Mar 09, 2013 at 08:49:00 AM EST
    Rand Paul, like all libertarians, is only against 'big government' when it suits his ideology. He is against abortion rights, against the Americans with Disabilities Act, against the Voting Rights Act, against marriage equality, against equal pay for women, etc.

    In other words, like all libertarians, he is against government interventions.... because people like him are fine. Minorities are often denied their civil liberties in this society, and sometimes government intervention is needed to protect freedom and rights for all members of our society.


    Nice speech, but you've confused civil rights (none / 0) (#16)
    by Mr Natural on Sat Mar 09, 2013 at 10:04:49 AM EST
    and civil liberties.  The price of St. Obama's diffident support for the civil rights of a few has been the decrease in civil liberties for everyone.

    But do continue bashing Rand Paul.  I feel a little sorry for him.  Except for Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley's tweet, virtually no one from my party had the courage to speak in support of his demands for accountability.


    Slight correction (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by MO Blue on Sat Mar 09, 2013 at 11:16:58 AM EST
    There were 2 Dems who spoke in support of Paul's demands for accountability.

    Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, spoke in support of Paul during that time. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) tweeted support,...

    Not exactly a number to be proud of for sure but felt Wyden should be mentioned.


    And you confuse libertarianism (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by Leopold on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 09:08:29 AM EST
    with the notion that it can proffer liberty and rights for all in society. It can't.

    Don't confuse not wanting government intervention (none / 0) (#19)
    by Slado on Sat Mar 09, 2013 at 12:05:26 PM EST
    With not caring.

    Rand would vehemently defend the rights of all people but does not agree that government intervention is a good way to solve social issues.

    Too often the unintended consequences outweigh the perceived benefit.

    Mr. Paul is consistent.  Dems and republicans trade their ideology for special interests.

    See President Obama vs. candidate Obama.

    Far too many examples to list.

    I was a republican but all the double talk and pandering to the religious right and the hypocrisy when it comes to military spending drove me away.

    Come join us.


    No thank you. (5.00 / 3) (#27)
    by Leopold on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 09:07:13 AM EST
    Libertarianism is completely antithetical to the core philosophy of citizenship, something I deeply believe in. I believe we have obligations to others in society, not just rights. Libertarianism is about the individual, and ignores the ethics of citizenship with its comcomitant belief that we are connected to, and committed to, others in society -- particularly those less fortunate.

    Why does our citizenship... (none / 0) (#32)
    by kdog on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 09:13:19 AM EST
    feel so much like serfdom?  I have no problem being a good citizen, as long as I am not treated like a subject or a child.

    It's a two-way street man...just as individuals have an obligation to society, scoiety has an obligation to the individual...namely respecting him or her.  These authoritarian checkpoints are disrespectful.  

    Society is not living up to this obligation to the individual, which only adds to the allure of libertarianism.  If libertarianism offends you so, ya need to get your statist house in order bro.


    Dear "bro": (none / 0) (#34)
    by Leopold on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 05:36:05 AM EST
    There is much more to consider along the spectrum of governing philosophy than the extremes of libertarianism and 'statism'.

    Although, you helpfully exemplify the oversimplified thinking of the libertarian who is torn between 'liberty' vs 'statism'. Thank you "bro".


    My pleasure... (none / 0) (#35)
    by kdog on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 08:10:38 AM EST
    And no disrespect..."bro" is a term of endearment...as in brothers in citizenship, if you will.

    For sure, extreme libertarianism is as foolhardy as extreme statism...the rub is finding the balance between individual rights and peaceful collective living, and I tend to think our scales have tilted far too far towards statism.  Random immigration checkpoints with agents asking about citizenship is but one example of this.  

    All I'm saying is if we find libertarianism dangerous and threatening, all we have to do is cease to make our statism so dangerous and threatening.  Remove the totally unneccessary and tyrannical negatives of citizenship.  Cuz right now our version of statism is making libertarianism, or even anarchy, look pretty damn good.  All things being equal, freedom is always preferable to subservience.


    Except for the important point that (none / 0) (#36)
    by Leopold on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 05:14:49 PM EST
    liberarianism does NOT EQUAL freedom. (See other posts.)

    Then I ask again... (none / 0) (#38)
    by kdog on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 12:54:52 PM EST
    why does our citizenship feel like serfdom?  

    Because being stopped without probable cause on the highway does not feel like freedom.  Our drug laws do not feel like freedom, and the resulting prison population does not feel like freedom.

    I've never lived in a more libertarian society, but it has got to have more freedom perks than this sh*t, though I won't argue there are not downsides too....like the rich and powerful having more freedom to rape and pillage. Though one could argue the "above the law" big banks already have that freedom, it's just us common citizens living like serfs.


    "Libertarians" (5.00 / 2) (#30)
    by Yman on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 12:51:35 PM EST
    For the most part, Republicans who's real focus is taxes and keeping as much of what they have as possible.

    Amazing how many of them are born into privilege and just want to keep it that way.


    "Come join us"? (5.00 / 2) (#31)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 09:34:07 PM EST
    And join what -- the Caveat Emptorium? Speaking for myself only, it appears to me that the libertarian's laissez faire philosophy is inherently self-absorbed, and would sacrifice the whole for the sake of the individual.

    The entire premise of libertarianism appears to rest upon four rather risky and naive assumptions, that (1) human behavior is always rational, (2) the marketplace is utterly predictable, (3) an ethical balance will somehow be struck through a completely unfettered competitive process, and (4) social harmony is best achieved when man is unhindered by regulation and unhampered by oversight.

    That's the philosophical equivalent of batting 0-for-4, as far as I'm concerned.


    "social problems" (none / 0) (#39)
    by jondee on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 01:42:58 PM EST
    Libertarian-speak for the tribulations of those who can't foot the bill for a team of lawyers, or a lobbying firm..

    Our badge-wearing brethern hate it (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by Payaso on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 03:10:11 AM EST
    when you refuse their "requests".

    I have refused to consent to searches on a few occasions even though I had no contraband.  Every time it happened the cops were upset but eventually let me go.

    Border patrol agents set up checkpoints 100 (none / 0) (#1)
    by caseyOR on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 07:06:05 PM EST
    miles in from both the southern and northern borders. They not only stop cars and trucks, border patrol can board buses and passenger trains within that 100 mile range.

    This means that since Seattle is only 70 some  miles from Victoria, B.C., Border Patrol agents could set up checkpoints in Seattle.

    Seattle is 0 miles from the coast (none / 0) (#2)
    by terraformer on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 07:27:45 PM EST
    It doesn't matter how far away from a crossable border there is, the rule is from the border, which puts the entire NE, all of the east coast and all of the west coast inside the scope of BP's checkpoint power. The power they have is to stop, detain and question anyone suspected of recent entry, or randomly at checkpoints, within 100 miles of the border.  

    There have always been INS checkpoints ... (none / 0) (#6)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 09:37:49 PM EST
    ... along the I-5 corridor between L.A. and San Diego near the presently inoperative San Onofre nuclear power station, for as long as I can recall. I remember back when I was a little boy and we would be returning from Ensenada, and once we passed through Oceanside traffic would always slow to a crawl as we approached the checkpoint. Most always, INS officers would just glance in our car and then wave us through.

    Funny, but I've since noticed that the INS doesn't maintain a similar immigration checkpoint on the I-15 corridor between San Diego and Ontario (20 miles inland of I-5, which parallels the coastline) -- and to be honest, that's just as heavily traveled a route between L.A. and San Diego as I-5, mostly used by long-haul truckers.

    In fact, when I'm driving down to San Diego from Pasadena, I prefer going 35 miles east on I-210 and I-10 to the I-15 interchange near L.A.-Ontario Int'l Airport, before turning south, which allows me to avoid all the traffic in Orange County. It's about 25 miles farther distance-wise, but you can save upwards of 45 minutes to an hour on the road.

    Yep - nothing new (none / 0) (#29)
    by jbindc on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 12:41:18 PM EST
    20 years ago I was driving up US 281 from MacAllen, TX (on the Rio Grande) to my home in San Antonio.  When I was about 50 miles in from the border, there was a checkpoint. No one (that I saw) was detained for more than a minute or two.

    I bet these officers also knew they were being videoptaped.


    No need to get personal (none / 0) (#9)
    by Slado on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 10:00:20 PM EST
    Just say you don't like him.

    Maybe he meant her... (none / 0) (#10)
    by unitron on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 11:45:49 PM EST
    ...you know, the lady who wrote the unillustrated comic books.

    These guys are awesome (none / 0) (#11)
    by sj on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 11:58:51 PM EST
    I'm wondering if I could be so steadfast.

    Why are we required to submit to blood alcohol (none / 0) (#12)
    by citizenjeff on Sat Mar 09, 2013 at 03:57:13 AM EST
    tests at random DUI checkpoints, but not required to cooperate with agents at citizenship checkpoints?

    Because drivers license is a privilege not a right (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by Molly Bloom on Sat Mar 09, 2013 at 08:42:50 AM EST
    In most, if not all states, you can refuse. Most states, if not all of them, will take your driving privileges away if you refuse.

     Detaining you for questioning implicates constitutional rights (search & seizure).

    One is a privilege the other is a constitutional right.

    Hope this helps.


    You lose your license... (none / 0) (#18)
    by kdog on Sat Mar 09, 2013 at 11:33:05 AM EST
    if you refuse during a traffic stop, which is supposed to be preceded by probable cause for the stop.

    citizenjeff asked about random dui checkpoints without probable cause.  I would think the same rights of refusal on 4th amendment grounds should apply.


    Answer to my own question (none / 0) (#21)
    by citizenjeff on Sat Mar 09, 2013 at 01:18:44 PM EST
    The Supreme Court, in Michigan State Police v. Sitz, ruled only that motorists may be stopped briefly for questioning, not that motorists must submit to alcohol tests without probable cause:

    Detention of particular motorists for more extensive field sobriety testing may require satisfaction of an individualized suspicion standard.

    So it seems that drivers at DUI checkpoints have pretty much the same rights as drivers at citizenship checkpoints. But I wonder how cops at a DUI checkpoint would treat a driver who responds as the guy in the video above responds. Would the uncooperative attitude be interpreted as evidence of intoxication and probable cause to administer tests?

    privilege v. right (none / 0) (#20)
    by citizenjeff on Sat Mar 09, 2013 at 12:49:47 PM EST
    "Because drivers license is a privilege not a right"

    Why doesn't the fact driving is a privilege, not a right, require us to submit to questioning about citizenship as we're apparently required to submit to random alcohol tests? In both cases, it's a driver who's confronted by police.


    Privilege v right (none / 0) (#22)
    by Molly Bloom on Sat Mar 09, 2013 at 04:24:16 PM EST
    You can refuse the breath test. You will not face criminal penalties for refusing. You will not go to jail, you will not be fined.  You will get your license suspended or revoked administratively. That's not a criminal penalty. You are not charged with a crime. It's a condition you agreed to (consciously or not) when you applied for a drivers license from the great state of X.

    Driver's license's are typically issued by the states (I suppose DC is different I don't know, never been a DC resident). Border Patrol is federal.

    How do suppose a federal administrative law judge has the ability to suspend or revoke a state issued DL for failing to,respond to border patrol questions. You don't see jurisdiction problems with this? Oy vey!


    "You can refuse the breath test." (none / 0) (#23)
    by citizenjeff on Sat Mar 09, 2013 at 06:45:52 PM EST
    Indeed you can, Molly, as I pointed out in a previous comment. Just as you can refuse to answer questions about citizenship. I'm not suggesting we should have to answer questions about citizenship; I'm worried about how police enforce DUI laws. It's not clear why you believe the privilege v. right issue is relevant here.

    In California, a driver may lawfully refuse to take a field sobriety test, but a driver who refuses to take a blood or breath test after being arrested for suspicion of drunk driving, faces a possible fine and/or imprisonment. How does your theory about criminal penalties and privileges v. rights square with those forms of punishment for a motor vehicle violation?

    Even worse is that many police departments deprive DUI arrestees of liberty even after the booking process has been completed, and even when cops have no intent to take the arrestee before a judge. The police openly acknowledge the arrestees are being held in custody until they "sober up." What authorizes such an extended detention? I say nothing does; it's blatantly unconstitutional.


    If (none / 0) (#24)
    by Molly Bloom on Sat Mar 09, 2013 at 10:46:49 PM EST
    I think you need to go back and retread the statute you cite more carefully. Consider the word if and how it is used In the statute.

    You are not automatically fined or imprisoned by refusal under the statute. You are deemed to have consented to the test under the CA statute.

     Please point yo a comparable provision under federal law regarding border patrol quizzing someone's citizenship. You can't.
     Further as the vids show unless they have probable cause they cannot detain you. Probable cause is a term of art pertaining to a specific constitutional right. It is implicated in the drunk driving cases as well and as I pointed out you can refuse, but because driving is a privilege you can have your licensed revoked. That is not a criminal penalty.

    Finally go back and look at your original question and my response. If you can't figure it out, then I am just not the right teacher for you.


    iffy and spiffy (none / 0) (#26)
    by citizenjeff on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 05:17:39 AM EST
    Molly, I realize drivers face a fine or imprisonment only if they have been arrested for suspicion of drunk driving, and that I was wrong to believe drivers are required to submit to field sobriety tests. Also, I misunderstood your point about criminal penalties. Sorry about that.

    What do you think about my contention that police lack authority to detain DUI arrestees beyond the time that's necessary to complete the booking process? Aren't cops always required to release arrestees - or take them before a judge or doctor - as soon as possible?


    The Video Highlights... (none / 0) (#33)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 11:01:08 AM EST
    ...what us white males with a little balls can get away with.  And while I don't know, it seems like the 'cooperation' received by the agent's would not have been so generous had the driver looked like and actual immigrant, as in Mexican.

    The check point in Texas that is about an hour from the actual border, it is not an actual border check, that is handled at the border.  It's more of check point, and posted a good hour from the border because that is where traffic bottlenecks.  You have to use that route to get from Brownsville to Houston or go about 80 miles out of your way.  I assume the alternative routes also have similar check points, manned by border patrol.   I believe they are more for big trucks, because those seems to get a higher degree of scrutiny that cars.

    We used to go at least once a month and rarely did they ask anything more than we are you going or are you a citizen.  And while I appreciate what these guys are doing, in reality, you are not only cashed form a weekend in Mexico, for us, we were always carrying pharmaceuticals and veterinarian supplies that required the least amount of friction.

    What was really odd, is most of the stuff we brought back wasn't illegal, as in breaking Federal law, but all of it was illegal under Texas law.  For example, Valium, under Federal law at the time, you could bring back a 3 month supply, 90.  Declare it and be on your way, but as a friend of mine who was busted in Houston can attest, 10 Valium is considered 'Possession of a Dangerous Drug' and a felony.  Ditto for Veterinarian supplies(steroids) most of it was cool under Fed law, but not in Texas.  For the record, I never messed with steroids, that was another guy.

    The last thing I want to mention is one time me and a friend got in the wrong lane and ended up being forced into Mexico.  We did a U-turn and got into the lane for the US.  Although it was all done within visual distance of the US border, maybe a block and half, we were detained for about 4 hours while they went through my car with all kinds of contraptions.  Apparently two white males driving a luxury sedan fit some sort of profile.  We literally had no choice, they asked us a couple questions, no big deal, but made us sit in a room with a window watching them go though my car.  I got nervous because I had just bought it a couple months ago.  I remember thinking man-o-man I hope the previous owner did forget something he stashed.  Clean, but it ruined our entire weekend, we just couldn't get un-nerved after that.

    I mention this because it happens all the time, people get caught in the one-way across the border that for some GD reason, has no exits.  Like they don't want you backing out at some point, it sucks.  Good thing we were legally carrying guns, because the Federales don't play and we could have ended up in a world of S because we accidentally got on the wrong road.