The ACLU made the Border Patrol reveal its terrifying legal theories

Originally published at:


Planes don’t give me anxiety, but I often find myself taking a xanax before a border crossing. And I’m a citizen. Things have changed in this country, for the worse. I wonder if all this bullshit has cut into the profits at tourist spots like Niagara Falls. Used to be a common weekend trip in the 90s, now I’ll be people don’t want the hassle…




paying “undue attention to the agent’s presence,” avoiding “looking at the agent,”

So… you’re suspicious if you look at the agent, and you’re suspicious if you don’t look at the agent. I know these kinds of rules are set up to justify arbitrarily treating anyone as suspicious, but couldn’t they have been less obvious about it?


Twenty plus years ago I lived in Tucson, AZ and we spent a lot of time hiking and mountain biking close to the border. Drove to Puerto Peñasco a couple of times with no incident. Then one night my GF and I camped about 5 or so miles from the border near Bisbee. I don’t remember the reason, we may have wanted to get an early start on a hike in the Coronados, or it may have been a long day and we didn’t want to drive back to Tucson in the dark.

For whatever reason, we camped in my truck off the road and got buzzed a couple of times by La Migra as would be expected. But then for the next 5+ years, every interaction I had with INS and CBP I was flagged. “Random” searches at the Canadian border or coming back from trips to the UK, green card paperwork getting “lost” repeatedly. It was beyond the normal inefficiency and into malice and suspicion.

And then it stopped as mysteriously as it started - I guess the report or the info aged out of the system.


Funny how all those rugged individualist Nativists crying about the threat posed by immigrants to American values go silent in response to stories like this.

A reminder that what happens in the civil rights border grey zone is a preview of what this xenophobic regime would like to impose on all of us. That zone expands on an on-going basis:




I’m actually in the process of trying to figure out if I want to go through the hassle of going over the Border right now by trying to renew my passport and go into Canada to buy some equipment.

The equipment is several thousand dollars, and is antique and extremely heavy, on the order of a few thousand pounds. I would like to go to Canada with a friend to inspect the equipment if I choose to perhaps buy it, but I am actually afraid to cross the border because I don’t know what digital things I have said about the government or Trump are in some file that will flag me. I expect it is very possible to have my belongings searched for no reason and my phone data copied against my will. My country has been treating citizens who don’t like it like terrorists for years, and this is just further proof.

The only recourse I have is to buy the equipment sight-unseen and pay to have it shipped here Freight and pray that it’s actually in working condition.

The other part of me doesn’t want a passport issued under Trump’s name. I can’t remember if the actual Eagle on the front is tied in any way to marking who the current president is with some sort of seal, but I don’t even want a passport reflective of anything issued by Trump.

I’m an atheist- but god bless the ACLU!


My wife and I don’t go to the US anymore except for the obligatory every-other-year Christmas visit with the American relatives, and an unavoidable business trip on my part. The simple fact that your alleged “Commander In Chief” and the fascists he’s empowered are screwing with the Canadian economy and treating the entire planet like their personal garbage pail has me looking at more costly but more rewarding vacation destinations like Australia and New Zealand.


Same but different: when I was 17 I was on a flight which was grounded mid-flight due to a bomb threat. After the plane had been cleared to continue on to its destination, I was one of only a handful of passengers who opted to reboard the plane (I really had no choice but that’s here nor there.) for the next some odd years, I was randomly selected for additional screening every single time I went through airport security. like so much that on occasions of flying with family members they would joke about it with the TSA agents. At some point in my mid-20’s it stopped happening, and hasn’t happened since. Circumstance? I dunno. I was already p deep into ancom politics at that point so I was certainly paranoid about the whole thing, but it wasn’t until long after the fact that I settled on my hunch. I wonder if my willingness to re-board the plane could’ve triggered it all, as that seems like the kinda thing a cop would seize on, like, “why’s this kid not scared? He could know it’s a hoax,” that kinda thing. I was never interviewed or anything, so I really don’t know. But simply being an angry, disaffected high school dropout never seemed like cause for all the hassle I’d receive over the years, and that’s really the only other cause besides pure dumb luck.


Could try a burner phone and/or fresh Chromebook? Wouldn’t help with the suckiness of getting searched by fascists, but would keep them from copying your real data.


You mean, the remaining third of us? Because 2/3 of Americans live in that zone (myself included, at every address I’ve lived at on both coasts…)


Yes, per the graphic in the ACLU article. But also those of us not in the process of crossing that border, those of us who were born in the U.S. or are naturalised citizens, those of us who present as white and middle class, etc. It’s not just about geography, as bad as that situation is.

If Il Douche gets a second term*, his most loyal law enforcement agency will have its powers expanded further and its officers’ union will get a lot more dues-paying members.

[* or perhaps sooner, depending on the content of his big speech]


where Border Patrol can prove that a nexus has occurred (that someone has crossed the border recently).

It sounds like the citizens of Besźel and Ul Qoma need to fight back against the jurisdiction claims of Breach.


Up until recently I worked in downtown Detroit (still reside just the other side of 8 Mile. Shout out to all the East Siders!), and every time I saw a Border patrol vehicle go by I worried that they could stop, pull me into the ride and that would be the last time anyone ever saw me. And there wouldn’t be a thing that me nor my family could do about it. Any of us in that 100 mile zone should be concerned. Very concerned.


Last time I went to Montréal I did bring my phone but I purposefully left my daily driver laptop at home and brought an old, slow Chromebook running an obscure version of Linux for U.S. Border Control to fuss over on my return to the States if it came down to it.


God do I wish I had more funds to send the ACLU


The point is I shouldn’t have to act like a criminal to travel to avoid being treated like a criminal. And I shouldn’t have to give up my rights at a fucking imaginary line to live in America, much less in modern times.

This hundred miles of the border bullshit is just that- bullshit!

If I could be reborn as an ACLU lawyer that made the balls of these authoritarian fascist shitheads shrivel when I walk into a room, I think I’d consider that a form of Boddhistsava, a being who chooses to come back to earth in human form to help mankind, and do so.

I can’t believe I have to deal with this shit 20 years out from 9/11. I knew this would happen back then even when I was still in high school, and sadly I see I’m still right. America has long since sold its actual free balls over fear and complacency.


I am a metalhead, and I fucking love the ACLU, and I am buying that shirt.

Guys- donate to them, and the EFF. The two of them are Yoda and Skywalker for your rights as an American. Its not like congresscritters will ever affect real change as spineless twits on their own.