Wednesday, April 18, 2012
The Border Patrol cites federal laws permitting it to operate checkpoints and stop suspicious drivers. Establishing internal checkpoints has been a long-standing policy in Texas and California, states along the border with Mexico, as well as (less frequently) New York, Vermont and New Hampshire.
The constitutionality of such laws, which clearly violate the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures, has been challenged over the last several decades, but federal courts have consistently upheld the governments right to operate the checkpoints. The checkpoint issue reached the Supreme Court in 1976, which claimed that warrantless stops and searches do not violate the Constitution in areas near the border.
However, civil liberties advocates in Texas, Arizona and California have aptly described the checkpoints as ever-expanding militarized zones. There are approximately 8,000 Border Patrol agents on the US-Mexican border.