The U.S. government and its agencies, especially the Border Patrol, have an obligation to assure that people don’t get past the country’s borders illegally.

But people do. Lots of them. That’s why the Border Patrol is active many miles from the border, patrolling backways and major roadways in search of illegals.

That far-ranging activity in Arizona, including highway checkpoints, is the subject of a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU says the Border Patrol goes beyond its mission of checking resident status to the point of harassing and delaying residents of this country.

We say – and this might be a first for this space – that the ACLU is right on.

The ACLU is asking the court to force the Border Patrol to detail its practices in enforcing immigration law inside the United States.

Its contention is that the Border Patrol must have reasonable suspicion that there has been an unlawful entry into the country before stopping a vehicle.

That clearly is not the current standard, as thousands of people traveling highways and interstates daily in the southern parts of Arizona and California can testify.

Stories abound of long driving delays caused by checkpoints. Even in places where traffic is relatively light, such as along the highway between Yuma and Quartzsite, there are plenty of anecdotes from ordinary residents about the feeling of interrogation at the checkpoints.

To many, the checkpoints are like the long airport security lines. If the government is doing its job of stopping illegal entry at the borders, there should be no need to search grandma at the air terminal.

The ACLU’s action suggests race is a determining factor in many Border Patrol stops. We disagree, based on the observation that highway checkpoints delay people of all colors and race.

In our view, public roadways are there to move people quickly from point A to point B. The checkpoints cause delays and an increasing irritation at the militarization of areas well beyond the border.

— Today’s News-Herald

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(4) comments

StlyDan

Its not really a matter a inconvenience, but an infringement on our rights. Should we be giving up our rights to be stopped and searched? A mere 10 second inconvenience to aid in illegal immigration issues is not a big deal as you suggest in your sarcasm. But, what are these stops doing...stopping illegal immigration? What do we do when we find illegals? send them back...nope....take a look at what is going on in Texas. So we give up rights (however little we may feel it is) but those infringements are not being benefited from.

Also...next time you go through a check point...try to exercise your rights to not answer the questions. Just do it politely and hold your ground. See what happens. I guarantee you will feel a bit differently about them just doing their jobs. Its easy to say that you have no reason to not answer their questions because you are a law abiding citizen, but you do have that right...or we are supposed to. ;)

Steve Clark

Yes it makes me feel like going back home to Russia those check points. Just another way to harass good American People, hard working, throw the constitution out and search unlawfully vehicles they pick and choose with the help of our Governments personal Brown Coat Gestapo { they are doubling in size by the way} our Border Patrol!!!! I thought that they were developed to stop illegals {they failed} fire them all??? Hello don't you think that all of the illegals know where you border patrol stations are.... There government gives them a map,,, I saw it!!!! Couldn't believe it. If the Border Patrol has failed utterly. In other societies where they failed so completely they would fall on their swords, not double there selves. So now and in the future they exist as the governments paid army to control their citizens,,, That is how I see it!!!!!

Jim Beam

LOL myideas! I SO know what you mean. Especially because those checkpoints are ONLY searching for illegal aliens and not other such criminal activity. I have been so inconvenienced by the pull up, wave to, and drive on check point procedures that I have even considered moving back to California where I love driving in bumper-to-bumper traffic on the 405 taking me 2.5 hours to get to work that is literally 8 miles away from my home. How dare these check points on their long open highways inconvenience us by doing their jobs and slowing my pace. I will have to write someone... (sarcasm definitely intended.)

Don Evans

I know what you mean. I was in a line of two cars at that check point on 95 north of Yuma the other day. I didn't check, but it probably slowed my return to Havasu by 10 or 15 seconds. (Sarcasm intended).

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