South Texas motorists challenge U.S. Border Patrol checkpoints

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by Joe Conger / KENS 5

khou.com

Posted on February 28, 2013 at 9:21 PM

SAN ANTONIO – If you’re entering Texas from Mexico, you are required to respond to Border Patrol agents or face delays, and even deportation.

But some motorists are challenging those checkpoints along Interstate 35 in Laredo and beyond.

A montage of home videos is making the rounds on YouTube, where the question, “Are you an American citizen?” goes unanswered and federal officers are challenged.

“Do you mind rolling down the window?” the agent asks in the video.

“That’s as far as I want to roll it down, sir,” answers one driver.

“Am I being detained? Am I free to go?” asks another.

(Watch complete YouTube video below.)

Professor, immigration lawyer and former State Department official, Anne Ohlrich, says voluntary checkpoints are just that: voluntary.

“I had a lot of students from the valley, who were very scared to pass that checkpoint," she said.

Ohlrich says the 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects against unreasonable searches and seizures without probable cause.

Ohlrich said, “Just because an officer stops you because you might have darker skin, or you have a beard, or your car is dirty…that’s not reasonable cause to suspect that you’re smuggling aliens or smuggling narcotics or weapons or anything else.”
 
And that’s just what some of the South Texas motorists in the video explained to officers, leaving the agents with no other choice than to allow the citizens to continue their journey, unhindered.
 
Ohlrich said she does not recommend challenging law enforcement.
 
But those who posted the video attempt to make the point that Americans should be free to travel inside their own country.

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