A group of drivers want you to know your rights.
As anyone familiar with the U.S.-Mexico border knows, the checkpoints don't start where the two countries meet. In fact, the Border Patrol can set up checkpoints within 100 miles of the border, where they stop drivers at random in search of undocumented immigrants. Snoop Dog found that out the hard way last year when he got busted for weed at a border checkpoint outside Sierra Blanca, Texas.
What you might not know is that you're not legally obligated to answer their questions, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, which has denounced the practice of setting up random immigration checkpoints along the border zone.
A few drivers decided to test the theory, filmed the results, and posted them on YouTube.
In a series of clips, the Border Patrol asks drivers if they are Americans. They are met with responses including "I don't have to answer that," "Am I being detained?" and "I plead the fifth amendment." They refuse requests to pull over to the side of the road and instead ask to be let on their way.
And in each case, the Border Patrol eventually lets them go.
We first saw the video on Latino activist blog Three Sonorans. Since then its been making the rounds, chalking up nearly 300,000 views this week.
Ann Ohlrich, a professor immigration lawyer and former State Department official, told KENS 5 News that the information you decide to give at border zone checkpoints is voluntary.
"I had a lot of students from the valley, who were very scared to pass that checkpoint," Ohlrich said, referring to Texas' Rio Grande Valley, a majority Mexican-American area. “Just because an officer stops you because you might have darker skin, or you have a beard, or your car is dirty…that’s not reasonable cause to suspect that you’re smuggling aliens or smuggling narcotics or weapons or anything else.”
Watch these drivers challenge the Border Patrol in the video above and let us know what you think in the comments.
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