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Posts published in “Day: February 14, 2009”

Inside-the-border stops

Norm Dicks

Norm Dicks

The decisions by Senator Patty Murray and Representative Norm Dicks to take a closer look at the Olympic peninsula border stops - not stops at the border, which are not under debate, but quite a few miles from it - are likely to generate a good deal of comment. Not all, but most, we suspect, positive.

From a Dicks release on this:

The congressman said he met in October with the Chief of the Border Patrol, but that since then “CBP agents have adopted an even more aggressive strategy of performing ad hoc traffic stops, making individual arrests. While I understand that the Border Patrol mission includes coordination with local law enforcement on border control issues, I have serious questions about the agency’s direct authority to stop individual automobiles and detain, in some cases, legal residents of the United States until they are able to prove their status.”

In the letter, Rep. Dicks also said that he was also disturbed by reports of Border Patrol agents boarding local buses and primarily questioning riders about their citizenship.

“I would appreciate your personal attention to the question of whether these activities are the appropriate and best use of the limited resources available to your department as it confronts the myriad of serious threats to the security of our homeland,” the congressman’s letter concluded.

You need to recall here that Dicks may be a Democrat but he is also one of the closest to military and security interests - this is not someone automatically and by nature suspicious of that community.

There is, as noted, a lot of comment about all this. There's a string, pro and con, well worth reading tagged to a Seattle Times piece on this. One of the comments that caught our attention:

I guess none of the other posters on this thread live out on the Peninsula. The Border Patrol's random stops have caught no-one with any connection with terrorism or illegal drugs or anyone who has crossed into the US from Canada. They have caught medical marijuana users (legal in Washington State, illegal at the Federal level), harvesters of salal without a permit, and a few inoffensive Mexican agricultural workers who have been in the country for years, some undocumented, some who actually are legal but are still sent to immigration detention. For this they violate our fourth amendment rights, make us miss our ferries, and squander our tax dollars.

By the way, the right they claim - to suspend the Fourth Amendment anywhere within 100 miles of a border - would allow them to conduct stop-and-search operations on I-5 in Seattle. If they did that, maybe you'd feel a little different.