L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 199, November 18, 2002
YOU'LL GO BLIND!
Your Papers, Please
Exclusive to TLE
As reported in the Detroit Free Press on 12 Nov 2002, "Federal agents will begin randomly stopping traffic today, looking for illegal immigrants, terrorists and drug or weapon smugglers."
Gee, now we here in Michigan, get to act just like the people in Nazi Germany, Communist Russia, and southwest Texas, southern New Mexico, Arizona and California. Whatís that you say? How did some southern states get included in that list? Seems for years the Feds have been running "checkpoints" within 100 miles of the border with Mexico to, shall we say, stop illegal immigration. And, in the 13 Nov issue of the Free Press they are now saying, "Under federal law, the Border Patrol can set up checkpoints up to 100 air miles from any international border, or from the shoreline. Within the first 25 miles, federal agents can stop drivers who seem suspicious, and they can search and conduct surveillance of private property." (source)
I guess that means the 4th Amendment only applies if you donít happen to live along the "international border". Think about this. All along, this "obscure law" has said if you happen to live in a certain area, they can "search ... private property" and no warrant is required. No probable cause, no warrant, just a random search to make sure you donít have any illegal aliens hidden with you. And just in case you think you might want to take it all the way to the Supreme Court, itís been done already. "The issue reached the Supreme Court in 1976, which said that warrantless stops and searches do not violate the Constitution in areas near the border." (source)
Now, just to give you some more warm fuzzy feelings, the "random checkpoints" wonít just be looking for illegal aliens or terrorists. No indeed. The checkpoints here will be looking for contraband and weapons, just like they do in the Southern US. (or communist Russia?) A good example of this is the Falfurrias, Texas checkpoint, a now permanent checkpoint along US highway 281 north of McAllen. "(The) U.S. Border Patrol's Falfurrias checkpoint, the nation's most productive off-border checkpoint in terms of illegal drug seizures." They donít even hide the fact that their main focus has become the War on (some) Drugs. They even give lessons. "Law enforcement agencies from as far away as Illinois and Missouri, as well as other Border Patrol stations, send officers and agents to Falfurrias to learn how their agents detect hidden compartments, size up nervous drivers and use drug dogs to sniff out hidden stashes." (source)
So letís tally up the score. They are ignoring the Fourth amendment to better protect us from terrorists. At the same time, theyíre ignoring the Second Amendment, if you subscribe to the viewpoint that the amendment means exactly what it says in the phrase, "... shall not be infringed." And theyíre ignoring the Ninth amendment, if you subscribe to the viewpoint that that the government has no legal authority to prohibit some drugs, just as they had no legal authority to prohibit alcohol, without a constitutional amendment.
Yes theyíve put together an unbeatable combination. Claim a crisis (or two or three). Ignore the Constitution, and tell us itís all for our own good. After all, we have to do something, donít we? We canít just wait for the terrorists to hit us again, can we? We have to stop all those illegal firearms and drugs. It's for the children.
Just remember, as the nice man in the pretty uniform tells you to open your door and stay out of the way, ("or else", is the unspoken threat) weíre doing this for your own good. Now show me your papers, please.
Another chapter in the ongoing saga of Amerikaís transformation into a police state.