The Border Patrol in Washington state has more agents, better equipment, a new station — and it’s making a lot of arrests. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer says it also as adopted a tactic that has raised both questions and ire: interior roadblocks dozens of miles from the nearest border. Since February, the Patrol has operated 53 “tactical traffic checkpoints.”
The statistics: 81 undocumented immigrants taken into custody, 19 people turned over to other agencies for state crimes; and 24,524 vehicles carrying 41,912 passengers checked. “How much are we willing to give up?” asks Lois Danks of the Stop the Checkpoints Committee on the Olympic Peninsula. “Do we give up our freedom of movement and our privacy? If they stop thousands of people and catch 10 people who work in a Mexican restaurant, how much does that increase our security?” Border Patrol Chief John Bates says the checkpoints have been ruled constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court. He says his agents are simply carrying out their duties as defined by law, which allows checkpoints within 100 miles of the border.