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The First Word in “Border Patrol” is — “BORDER”

September 22nd, 2008 | by Tom Harper |

I live near the Canadian border. In fact I can see Vancouver Island (British Columbia) from my house. According to some people, that makes me a foreign policy expert. But I digress…

The Border Patrol has a strong presence here, since we’re at an international border. That’s fine. But lately the Border Patrol has been holding highway checkpoints far, far away from the Canadian border.

This has been pissing off a lot of people. It’s by far the most divisive issue in this area. The local paper is full of letters to the editor, pro and con. I’ve done several posts about it at my local blog, and they’ve drawn more comments than every other local issue put together.

There’s a strong need to protect the border — no argument there. In 1999 an Algerian terrorist was intercepted at the border here. This was two years before the September 11th attacks.

But at these highway checkpoints, they aren’t just looking for terrorists and illegal aliens, even though that’s their stated purpose. They’ve also been arresting people for drug possession, among other things. One person was arrested for possession of medical marijuana. He had a prescription that was legal in the State of Washington but in violation of federal law. Again, this arrest took place miles and miles from the Canadian border. What the fuck does this have to do with terrorism and illegal immigration?

Unless there’s something unique about this area, I’m guessing this same issue is raging among millions of Americans who live near the Canadian and Mexican borders.

What do you think about this? Are these Border Patrol highway checkpoints making us safer? Or is this just another back door for Big Brother to invade everybody’s private life?

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  1. 3 Responses to “The First Word in “Border Patrol” is — “BORDER””

  2. By Ken Grandlund on Sep 22, 2008 | Reply

    It is the same here in the south,a t least in CA and AZ. We have checkpoints as far as 60 miles north of the Mexican border on I-5.
    And there are other border checkpoints on I-8 that are quite far from the border too, some on the way up towards Phoenix and probably close to the 100 mile threshhold that BP has legal jurisdiction in.

    And yes, they too do more than just detain illegal immigrants.

    It is part of the militarization of the borders and the growing police state in America.

  3. By Lisa on Sep 22, 2008 | Reply

    So what they bring drugs over and the agents should look the other way?
    So we can only arrest terror suspects? What about gang members who by the way usually smuggle drugs across.
    So one guy gets arrested for pocession of medical Marijuana and I am sure he is okay now.
    If they are suspicious of something they have a right to search. Last I heard it was illegal to smuggle drugs across the border.
    Sixty miles from the border? Is there anything between those checkpoints and the borders?

  4. By Liberal Jarhead on Sep 23, 2008 | Reply

    Yup, same here in NM too, on I-25 around 90 miles north of the border and well north of a lot of junctions with enough east-west highways that anyone who was actually a terrorist with a clue would never pass by. And if they did, all they’d need to do would be to have someone like me with white skin and blue eyes driving, because I just get waved through while anyone with brown skin and dark hair and eyes is likely to get stopped and harassed.

    The persecution of people for medical use of marijuana is nothing but fundamentalist sadism. Somehow I suspect that if people like John Ashcroft got cancer - that Ashcroft who was so hyper about medical marijuana that on Sept. 10, 2001 it was high on his radar screen while counter-terrorism wasn’t even in his budget submission despite explicit warnings from the previous administration about Al Qaeda - they might decide that being able to get some relief from the nausea from their chemo might not be so evil after all.
    If our government wasn’t too ignorant and punitive to set reasonable policies about drugs, they wouldn’t be a profit center for criminals. Duh. The best thing that ever happened to organized crime in America was Prohibition, which was also driven by fundamentalists trying to legislate their version of morality.

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