“The 4th Amendment, Feds, Cops and We the People”
Experienced American police officers know they usually need a signed warrant to search a house or car; federal officers do also, but many federal searches, seizures and arrests are made without warrants. Over 20,000 Federal agents on or near the borders with Mexico and Canada can do whatever they want, including strip searches, confiscate cars without warrants or even “probable cause.”
They can in spite of the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment that prohibits warrantless searches and seizures. They are working like their counterparts in Mexico where warrants are unnecessary.
Mexican President, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) has undeclared war on Mexican drug cartels, diverting suspicion to everyday Mexican drivers.
Inter and intra-cartel warfare caused murder and violent crime rates to rise exponentially in Mexico since 2006. President Felipe Calderon ordered the Mexican Army to wage war on cartel leadership.
President AMLO’s Army has shifted to road checkpoints with squads of six deployed throughout the country with uniformed civilian police assigned to question drivers who soldiers randomly pull over. The soldiers and police are authorized to search all vehicles. There is no need to have “probable cause” as is usually required in the U.S.
However, United States border authorities are not bound by the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment which protects people from searches and seizures without a warrant. U.S. Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) do not need search warrants at the borders with Mexico and Canada or at airports where people enter the United States.
Every time I leave my house, 18 kilometers south of the U.S./Mexican border, I drive through federal toll road collection booths on the way to the border and back. Mexican soldiers armed with M-16 American-made rifles, desert camouflage uniforms and masks have constricted the multi-lane toll plaza to one lane.
A teenaged soldier looks at every stopped driver and determines if the driver needs interrogation and/or a search. I repeat the procedure when I return, even at night.
Utilizing my new rapid border pass that took six months to be issued and cost $125, I still have to talk to a U.S. officer and that officer may order me into secondary inspection if he/she decides I need to be searched. Doesn’t need a reason. There is no protection against illegal search and seizures at the border for anyone, including U.S. citizens. At the border, the procedure is exactly the same as it now is in Mexico.
A U.S. officer at the border can order a search of one’s car and/or a personal search including of body cavities without any proof of any crime whatsoever. A state or local police officer, ten feet away, cannot order or conduct a similar search. If the police officer orders or conducts one, he can go to jail. The U.S. border officer, like the Mexican soldier or Mexican federal police officer, is not bound by any law or the Constitution. He/she can do a search of anyone they want, when they want, at the border and beyond.
It’s actually more than on the borders with Mexico and Canada. The U.S. Supreme Court moved the “border” one hundred miles at the insistence of the Border Patrol. Road checkpoints up to 100 miles from the border are de riguer for the Patrol.
How much American real estate away from the border is now covered by border officers?
In Southern California, the border with Mexico is 173 miles long; thus, the territory away from the Border that border officers can patrol amounts to 17,300 square miles or 11,072,000 square acres – that is larger than Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut land areas combined.
There is a California case that is dispositive of federal border officers shamelessly overreaching their jurisdiction.
Congressman Darrell Issa was traveling in his district three-fourths of which was in San Diego County and one fourth in adjacent Orange County. Close to the county line is a massive Border Patrol facility where officers are stationed to inspect drivers. The lanes are only covered a couple of hours-a-day. 90% of illegal aliens processed there are from local police in Orange County, few are discovered by facility officers. It is one of the worst multi-million dollar waste of money in the entire United States.
One day, a Border Patrol union agent claims he observed a Lexus automobile speed through the facility that had no officers working the traffic lanes. Excessive speed in his judgment. He jumped in a Border Patrol car to catch the speeding Lexus. He says he caught up with the speeder with flashing red and blue lights and pulled the car over. He says he wrote a speeding traffic ticket to the driver, United States Congressman Darrell Issa.
Question: What was a Border Patrol agent doing “writing” a speeding ticket on California’s Interstate-5? By what authority is he allowed to enforce California traffic laws?
Does he even know what California traffic laws are? The same applies to local and state authorities who think they can arrest people they “think” are in country illegally.
Was Issa’s effort to shut down the otherwise useless and expensive Border Patrol station the reason?
State, local and federal authorities must be restrained from overreaching. Illegal “Searches and seizures” must be stopped.
When a cop demands a driver walk a straight line and touch his nose because the cop suspects the driver is influenced by drugs or alcohol; the driver must say no, no law demands he incriminate himself. When a cop asks to search a car, the driver must say, you can — when you produce a judge-signed warrant.
When a U.S. officer demands to search your car when crossing into the U.S., on the other hand, the driver must comply. But he shouldn’t have to comply when he is ten feet past the border.