Border Patrol officers are working without permission on private property and setting up checkpoints up to 100 miles away from the border under a federal law that is being used more widely in the Trump administration’s aggressive crackdown on illegal immigration, the New York Times reports. A Texas rancher has accused the Border Patrol of trespassing after he said he found a surveillance camera the agency placed on his property. In New Hampshire, border officers working with state officials conducted what the American Civil Liberties Union described as illegal drug searches after residents were arrested at immigration checkpoints set up on an interstate highway. Recently in Florida, New York and Washington State, border officers have been criticized for boarding buses and trains to question riders — mostly U.S. citizens — about their immigration status.
Trump administration officials defend the government’s decades-old authority to search people and property, even without a warrant, far from the border. They call it a vital part of preventing weapons, terrorists and other people from illegally entering the U.S. Officials said some of the searches — particularly on Greyhound buses or Amtrak trains on domestic routes — had increased since the Obama administration. Under President Trump, field supervisors have regained the authority to order the searches, instead of officials at Border Patrol headquarters. The Homeland Security Department would not provide statistics on how often, or where, it checks domestic travel passengers or patrols on private property. Agency data show that fewer than 3 percent of foreigners entering the country illegally were caught at immigration checkpoints nowhere near the border.