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Immigration Law

Border Patrol Stops, Arrests Many - Including Americans - Far From Border

"Most Texans probably think of the Border Patrol as doing what the agency’s name suggests: interrupting illegal activity along the line separating the U.S. from Mexico.  Yet over the last decade, agents have regularly made arrests deep inside Texas, according to an American-Statesman investigation into the little-known realm of the Border Patrol’s interior enforcement operations.

Between 2005 and 2013, agents apprehended more than 40,000 subjects at the nine most inland Border Patrol stations representing locations as far as 350 miles from Mexico — an average of more than 10 per day, according to numbers obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.  In numerous cases, the arrests occurred more than 100 miles from the border, a blurry line of demarcation drawn a half-century ago.  Some resulted from the same controversial roving highway patrols that nabbed Zaldaña, in locations not typically associated with border enforcement: San Antonio, Odessa and San Angelo.

While the agency has insisted the 100-mile line doesn’t limit its activities, courts have ruled that agents need stronger justification to stop motorists the farther they are from the border.  And critics say roving interior patrols inevitably lead to agents pulling over motorists based only on their racial appearance, resulting in unconstitutional stops of American citizens and legal residents — the Border Patrol says it does not keep track of the numbers of those stops." - Jeremy Schwartz, Austin American-Statesman, Nov. 2, 2014.