100 Air Miles In: The Border Patrol Is Trump’s Front Line of Control

Image result for customs and border patrol

After the “Muslim Ban” went into effect, we were flooded with reports of overzealous Customs and Border Patrol agents interpreting the law the way they wanted, resisting court orders, and detaining people while past the point of legitimacy. In other words, they were acting like either rogue agents or a rogue agency–or rather, an agency with a very specific loyalty, and one that didn’t consider itself beholden to the court.

That loyalty, of course, is to Donald Trump. The CBP didn’t endorse Trump, though the Union for Border Patrol Agents did, very controversially. Though the CBP is officially non-political, it is clear that they lean very far right, and have been “rogue”, leading people to call them the most “out of control” law-enforcement agency.

But, as we said, one day you’re rogue, the next vogue. The undemocratic victory of Donald Trump has given them the green light they need, and his executive orders are opening the door. This morning, we’re hearing reports of border patrol agents checking “documents”, proof of citizenship, on domestic flights in domestic airports.

This is a “papers, please” sort of thing. To be clear, the CBP is acting within their jurisdiction.

The authority for this is based on the Immigration and Nationality Act 287(a)(3) and copied in 8 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 287 (a)(3), which states that Immigration Officers, without a warrant, may “within a reasonable distance from any external boundary of the United States…board and search for aliens in any vessel within the territorial waters of the United States and any railcar, aircraft, conveyance, or vehicle. 8 CFR 287 (a)(1) defines reasonable distance as 100 air miles from the border.

But there is a difference between having the authority, and having actual cause to do so. Have you ever had your “documents” checked on a domestic flight before? In a domestic airport? I know I haven’t. I don’t even know what to present: my driver’s license?

This isn’t just intimidation, though it is also that. It’s the muscle-flexing of the new world order. Hyperempowered white nationalists will extend their reach to the full range of the law, and possibly beyond. Or maybe the laws will change and that 100 miles becomes 500. This will only get worse if Trump is able to hire his 10,000 new CBP and 5000 new ICE agents (which is

This will only get worse if Trump is able to hire his 10,000 new CBP and 5000 new ICE agents (which is far from a done deal). Who do you think is going to be applying for Trump’s ICE? Majority civil libertarians, or failed cops with a chip on their shoulders, latent white nationalists with statutes behind them.

To say this is a ‘make or break’ moment is an exaggeration, sure. But it is dangerous. Once we start accepting having our papers checked at any airport, what else do we accept? What happens when a law enforcement agency is loyal to the President, and not to the country? What happens when everyone is the enemy?

Democracies don’t die at the ballot booth. They die when your citizenship hinges on the mood of the armed and empowered.

Advertisements

Arizona’s Anti-Protest Laws: This is How it Begins

I’m going to present this without comment, because it doesn’t need it. I don’t know if this will pass, or if it can, but the seeping paranoia isn’t just in the swamps of the alt-right. The “professional protestor” idea has taken hold of everyone (as if any protest isn’t planned, anyway), and they are using that not just to discredit, but to try to stop dissent. It would be fun to make “snowflake” or “safe spaces” jokes, but this is dead serious. It’s using the full mechanisms of state violence to stop legitimate dissent. From the Arizona Capitol Times.

Arizona Senate votes to seize assets of those who plan, participate in protests that turn violent

Claiming people are being paid to riot, Republican state senators voted Wednesday to give police new power to arrest anyone who is involved in a peaceful demonstration that may turn bad — even before anything actually happened.

SB1142 expands the state’s racketeering laws, now aimed at organized crime, to also include rioting. And it redefines what constitutes rioting to include actions that result in damage to the property of others.

But the real heart of the legislation is what Democrats say is the guilt by association — and giving the government the right to criminally prosecute and seize the assets of everyone who planned a protest and everyone who participated. And what’s worse, said Sen. Steve Farley, D-Tucson, is that the person who may have broken a window, triggering the claim there was a riot, might actually not be a member of the group but someone from the other side.

Sen. Martin Quezada, D-Phoenix, acknowledged that sometimes what’s planned as a peaceful demonstration can go south.

“When people want to express themselves as a group during a time of turmoil, during a time of controversy, during a time of high emotions, that’s exactly when people gather as a community,’’ he said. “Sometimes they yell, sometimes they scream, sometimes they do go too far.’’

Quezada said, though, that everything that constitutes rioting already is a crime, ranging from assault to criminal damage, and those responsible can be individually prosecuted. He said the purpose of this bill appears to be designed to chill the First Amendment rights of people to decide to demonstrate in the first place for fear something could wrong.

But Sen. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, said that chilling effect is aimed at a very specific group of protesters.

“You now have a situation where you have full-time, almost professional agent-provocateurs that attempt to create public disorder,’’ he said.

“A lot of them are ideologues, some of them are anarchists,’’ Kavanagh continued. “But this stuff is all planned.’’

There’s something else: By including rioting in racketeering laws, it actually permits police to arrest those who are planning events. And Kavanagh, a former police officer, said if there are organized groups, “I should certainly hope that our law enforcement people have some undercover people there.’’

“Wouldn’t you rather stop a riot before it starts?’’ Kavanagh asked colleagues during debate. “Do you really want to wait until people are injuring each other, throwing Molotov cocktails, picking up barricades and smashing them through businesses in downtown Phoenix?’’

Sen. Sylvia Allen, R-Snowflake, said the new criminal laws are necessary.

“I have been heartsick with what’s been going on in our country, what young people are being encouraged to do,’’ she said.

She agreed with Quezada that there already are laws that cover overt acts. But Allen said they don’t work.

“If they get thrown in jail, somebody pays to get them out,’’ she said. “There has to be something to deter them from that.’’

Farley, however, said the legislation does far more than simply going after those who might incite people to riot, something which actually already is a crime. And he warned Republicans that such a broad law could end up being used against some of their allies.

For example, he said, a “Tea Party’’ group wanting to protest a property tax hike might get permits, publicize the event and have a peaceful demonstration.

“And one person, possibly from the other side, starts breaking the windows of a car,’’ Farley said.

“And all of a sudden the organizers of that march, the local Tea Party, are going to be under indictment from the county attorney in the county that raised those property taxes,’’ he said. “That will have a chilling effect on anybody, right or left, who wants to protest something the government has done.’’

Sen. Katie Hobbs, D-Phoenix, said the whole legislation is based on a false premise of how disturbances happen.

“This idea that people are being paid to come out and do that?’’ she said. “I’m sorry, but I think that is fake news.’’

Sen. Andrea Dalessandro, D-Green Valley, had her own concerns.

“I’m fearful that ‘riot’ is in the eyes of the beholder and that this bill will apply more strictly to minorities and people trying to have their voice heard,’’ she said.

The 17-13 party-line vote sends the bill to the House.