Many Americans crossing so-called Interior Border Checkpoints are refusing to comply with United States Border Patrol agents’ orders and are posting their acts of defiance on YouTube.
According to an ABC News and Univision report, even though a 1976 Supreme Court decision allows the Border Patrol to set up checkpoints up to 100 “air” miles from the border, some are challenging that rule because they feel they should be free to travel within their own country without federal agents questioning.
Hundreds of videos featuring drivers of all ethnicities confronting Border Patrol agents at these inland border checkpoints have gone viral with a combined millions of views. Many of the driver in the videos challenge the requests at these checkpoints because they violate the 4th Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable search and seizure despite the 1976 Supreme Court ruling legitimizing them.
A browse through the hundreds of Border Patrol checkpoint videos will reveal that they all have a common theme: a car pulls into the border checkpoint and a Border Patrol agent either asks the people in the car if they are United States citizens or if they will consent to a search of their car’s trunk. Often, the drivers refuse to comply with the Border Patrol agent’s requests and then get into arguments over the constitutionality of the checkpoints.
One notable opponent on YouTube opposed to inland border checkpoints is Steven Anderson, an Arizona-based pastor. Many of his videos have gone viral because of his confrontations with Border Patrol agents. In one of his viral videos posted four years ago, he claimed he was beaten by Border Patrol agents after refusing to answer the agents’ questions about his citizenship. Anderson needed 11 stitches after the incident.
In response to the viral checkpoint videos, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the agency that oversees the Border Patrol, said in a statement to ABC News and Univision that agents at these checkpoints must have probable cause to search a vehicle through “observations, records checks, non-intrusive canine sniffs, and other established means.”
However, they added: “The majority of traveling Americans who pass through a Border Patrol Checkpoint are cooperative and are quickly on their way. There is no indication of an increase in refusal to cooperate.”