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Hullabaloo


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

 
Papers please?

by digby

So we now have "interior checkpoints" in America where they demand your papers? Who knew?Ryan Grim has the story:
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas was arrested Tuesday after attempting to board a plane out of McAllen, Texas, according to United We Dream, an immigration advocacy group.

On July 10, Vargas, who is an undocumented immigrant, flew to the small border town with a camera crew from his own organization, Define American. Vargas, like many other immigration activists, was there to interview and film undocumented minors fleeing escalating violence in their home countries in Central America. But what Vargas didn't know is that in order to leave the border town, he would need to pass through an interior U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint set up within 45 miles of McAllen.

In an interview with The Huffington Post on Saturday, Vargas, a former HuffPost editor, said he intended to fly out of McAllen using his Philippines-issued passport.

According to a United We Dream press release, Vargas was taken into custody by the Border Patrol in McAllen after attempting to board a flight to Los Angeles. The Border Patrol maintains a security presence at the McAllen-Miller International Airport.

A person who accompanied Vargas to the airport told HuffPost that Vargas handed his Philippines password to a TSA agent, who asked if he was traveling with a visa. Vargas said he was not. According to the source, Vargas was then directed toward one of the 21,000 border patrol agents who have the border region on lockdown.

The agent asked Vargas two or three questions, placed him in handcuffs and escorted him to the McAllen border patrol station for more questioning, according to the source. The station is not a detention center.
Evidently, the Border Patrol has set up "interior checkpoints all over the Southwest sometimes a hundred miles from the border where they can search anyone without probably cause and demand your papers. And it is obviously at this American airport examining papers and ID --- for people on flights within the country. The Border Patrol. WTH?
Such checkpoints are located throughout the Southwestern U.S. border, comprising of a 100-mile wide, Bill-of-Rights-free strip where authorities have claimed the privilege to do things they would not be permitted to do anywhere else in the country, such as executing a “routine search" without a warrant or probable cause, or asking American citizens for papers.
I had family living in Mexico for many years and went over the California border literally hundreds of times and never faced anything like this. The border was murder and I've had my car thoroughly searched and been heavily questioned many times, but once in the US you're in. I've flown out of airports all over the US and have never encountered border patrol. TSA, yes. But this wasn't TSA.

Vargas' story as the ultimate DREAM kid is well known. He's a very brave man, as are all the DREAMers who come forward and put themselves on the line. I wonder what's going to happen to him now?

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