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.