Slate: Does Border Patrol Exceed Its 'Legal Mandate' with Immigration Stops Inside Arizona?

by AWR Hawkins 22 Jul 2014, 11:18 AM PDT

On July 20, Slate magazine asked whether immigration stops inside the state of Arizona, "25 to 50 miles north of Mexico," exceed the Border Patrol's "legal mandate."

The article deals with "interior checkpoints"--randomly located--where drivers are slowed to a stop and asked by Border Patrol if they are U.S. citizens.

Slate uses an exchange between the Border Patrol and 56-year-old naturalized citizen Carlota Wray to show the trepidation she feels when driving up on an interior checkpoint.

Approaching the checkpoint, Wray says:

I know that Border Patrol abuse Latinos, people with brown skin, as beautiful as God made us. I see that my friends, my family are questioned and judged without reason, just for being Latino. They ask questions that are not necessary, but I am not doing anything wrong.

Slate then relays the questions Wray faced at the checkpoint after slowing to a stop:

Border Patrol Agent: "How you doing?"

Wray: "Doing good."

Border Patrol Agent: "U.S. Citizen here?"

Wray nodded yes and the Border Patrol Agent backed away from the car so Wray could continue to her destination.

These are types of checks that are being called into question.

Slate does cite U.S. v. Martinez-Fuerte (1976) in which the Supreme Court ruled that Border Patrol Agents could "briefly question" all drivers at checkpoints "and possibly request a form of identification." And the court held that Border Patrol could do so even "in the absence of any individualized suspicion." However, they could only do so at "reasonably located checkpoints."

Slate wants to know if Arizona interior checkpoints are "reasonably located."