A pair of U.S. citizens want to make a point about border checkpoints.
Omar Figueredo and Nancy Morales, were stopped at Brownsville/South Padre International Airport in Texas and detained for seven hours for refusing to answer questions about their immigration status before boarding a domestic flight this week, Democracy Now! reports.
Morales filmed Figuerdo’s arrest, yelling “what’s the crime?” as they took him away, becoming the latest in a series of people to challenge the concept of immigration checkpoints outside of border-crossing sites and upload the confrontations to the web.
Figueredo told Democracy, Now! host Amy Goodman:
What I was really trying to accomplish was to put into question the authority that the Border Patrol has to harass and to force people to answer questions that they don’t have to answer when they’re traveling within the 60-to-100-mile border zone in the U.S.
Police charged Figueredo with failure to identify, obstructing a passageway and resisting arrest and arrested Morales for interference with public duties, according the Cornell Daily Sun. They were released from jail Tuesday evening.
Figuerdo and Morales, both Cornell students, aren’t the only ones to challenge the Border Patrol’s questioning about immigration status in the border zone lately.
A group of drivers recently went cruising through checkpoints along the border zone, filmed their refusals to offer up information to Border Patrol agents, and uploaded the videos to YouTube. In each case, the Border Patrol eventually lets the drivers go without identifying their citizenship.
The American Civil Liberties Union says people are not legally obligated to answer immigration questions at random checkpoints. Neverthess, the practice is routine.
Lamar Smith (R-TX)
The former head of the House Judiciary Committee, which handles immigration legislation, <a href="http://www.kpbs.org/news/2012/nov/25/despite-talk-immigration-overhaul-not-a-guarantee/">is a longtime opponent of a pathway to citizenship</a>. Though some 57 percent of Americans support offering a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/14/lamar-smith-immigration_n_2472063.html?utm_hp_ref=politics">Smith says the proposal would have a hard time passing the House</a>.
Steve King (R-IA)
Rep. Steve King, who is vice chair of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, has introduced bills to make English the official language of the United States and end birthright citizenship.
Bob Goodlatte (R-VA)
Rep. Bob Goodlatte, who takes over for Lamar Smith as head of the House Judiciary Committee, <a href="http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/politics/2012/12/06/immigration-hardliner-bob-goodlatte-gets-bigger-role-on-divisive-issue/">opposes offering a pathway</a> to citizenship for the undocumented, saying it would reward illegal behavior.
John Boehner (R-OH)
Boehner famously called a 2007 bipartisan immigration bill that offered a <a href="http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21567106-election-drubbing-changes-minds-time-its-different">pathway to citizenship for the undocumented "a piece of shit."</a> It's not clear whether he plans to stick by those words. After the election he said he thought he could find common ground with the White House on immigration reform, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/09/john-boehner-immigration-citizenship_n_2102506.html">though he wouldn't say whether</a> he'd support a pathway to citizenship.
John Cornyn (R-TX)
Sen. John Cornyn, who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/ABC_Univision/Politics/gop-senator-cornyn-border-security/story?id=18187299">made clear in a speech last week that he's not interested in a pathway to citizenship</a> -- just more border security.
The first Latino U.S. Senator from Texas says he <a href="http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/politics/2012/08/01/what-does-ted-cruzs-victory-mean-for-texas-latinos/">"categorically opposes" a path to citizenship</a> for undocumented immigrants.