Newsbrief: Border Patrol Begins Random Stops in Michigan 11/15/02

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It's a brave new world for Michigan this week as the Upper Midwest gets a taste of tactics long familiar to denizens of the southern border. Beginning Tuesday, federal agents began randomly stopping traffic, looking for illegal immigrants, terrorists, drugs and weapons. They can do so under a federal law that allows the government to turn any part of the country within 25 miles of a foreign border into a Fourth Amendment-free zone.

The first internal checkpoints were set up near Port Huron and Trenton on Tuesday, Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) officials announced at a same day news conference. Although metropolitan Detroit falls within the 25-mile free zone, it is off limits for now because of concerns about traffic disruptions. There will be no racial profiling, officials said -- everyone will be stopped. "It's all about homeland security. Bottom line, we are here to be vigilant about the safety and security of the American people," said INS spokesman Greg Palmore.

But American people who happen to use the wrong substances should be concerned about their personal safety and security. "Those checkpoints would yield quite a few arrests," veteran Detroit Border Patrol agent Robert Lindemann, who worked similar checkpoints near the Mexican border, told the Detroit Free Press. "We got drugs, we got aliens, we got convicts. The checkpoints on the southwest border are critical."

They may be critical, but in the southwest they are often bypassed. For immigrants and contrabandistas alike, the checkpoints constitute a "second border," a more or less permanent feature on the landscape. Most often, they signify another 25 miles of walking through the desert or driving back roads to get around them.

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Issue #263, 11/15/02 The Week Online Needs Your Help! | Massachusetts: Marijuana on the Move? | Anaheim Conference Reinvigorates Battered Reformers -- Hundreds Gather to Examine Defeats, Plot New Strategies | Narco News Interview with Gustavo de Greiff | Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cop Story | Newsbrief: FCC Says Anti-Drug Ads Must Identify White House Sponsorship | Newsbrief: San Diego Medical Marijuana Rally to Go Transnational | Newsbrief: Hungry Utah Cops Nibbling at Edges of Asset Forfeiture Reform Law, Lying Through Their Teeth as They Campaign | Newsbrief: Free Speech Battle in Tampa after Leafleting Arrest | Newsbrief: Canada Gives Go-Ahead to Safe Injection Sites, First to Open Early Next Year | Newsbrief: Pain Doctor Hurwitz Raided in Virginia | Newsbrief: Pain Doctor Weitzel Retrial Underway in Utah | Newsbrief: Arkansas Prisons Say Methamphetamine Penalties Should Be Lowered | Newsbrief: Border Patrol Begins Random Stops in Michigan | Web Scan: Washington Office on Latin America, Andean Information Network, Latin America Working Group, Miami Herald, Harry Levine | Harm Reduction Coalition Seeking Articles and Artwork for "The Anonymous Issue" | Action Alerts: Rave Bill, Medical Marijuana, Higher Education Act Drug Provision, Tulia, Salvia Divinorum | The Reformer's Calendar
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