40% of All Border Patrol Busts Are for Petty Amounts of Pot

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Border patrol is permitted to conduct warrantless searches inside 100 miles of the border. But they largely use this authority to bust US citizens for possessing negligible amounts of weed.

Because taking workplace, President Trump has led a individual crusade against illegal immigration. But regardless of continuous calls for enhanced border safety, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials really devote a lot of their time and power busting American citizens who are caught with tiny amounts of pot.

Democratic Senators Patrick Leahy, Patty Murray, and Gary Peters not too long ago wrote a letter to the Government Accountability Workplace (GAO) requesting a assessment of immigration checkpoint policies. This request was produced in order to guarantee that these policies have been compliant with the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. As element of their request, the senators inquired as to the quantity of US citizens arrested at border checkpoints, and the motives for their arrests.

“Comprehensive information on who receives extra screening at checkpoints, and the affordable suspicion that undergirds these encounters, searches, and seizures, is basic to understanding if and how Border Patrol abides by constitutional limits,” the senators wrote. “While the GAO has previously reviewed the Border Patrol’s use of immigration checkpoints as element of its ‘defense in depth tactic,’ it has not investigated the method for deciding no matter if, when, and below what situations Border Patrol might conduct extra screening, searches, and seizures at immigration checkpoints.”

CBP officers presently have the legal appropriate to cease and search autos with out a warrant inside 100 miles of the border, and can also conduct warrantless searches of private land inside 25 miles of the border. The senators’ letter cites a 2017 assessment of this policy by the GAO, which reports that “40 % of checkpoint seizures have been from US citizens for 1 ounce or much less of marijuana.” 

But, due to the fact CBP officers are enforcing federal law, they can arrest any individual who is in possession of pot, even if it is in a state exactly where weed is legal.

In light of this discovery, the senators have proposed a new bill that would curtail warrantless searches inside the 100-mile “Border Zone.” The senators are concerned by the constitutional ramifications of these warrantless searches, but also note that employing the country’s border police to enforce minor pot possession laws is a “terrible” use of sources.

“‘Show me your papers’ are words that you ought to in no way hear after inside the United States. Unless a government agent has a reputable purpose to cease and search you — a affordable suspicion or probable result in — Americans ought to not be topic to questioning and detention for merely going about their each day lives,” Leahy mentioned in a statement. “The Trump administration can’t be trusted to use its finite sources in a way that protects our civil liberties and reflects our values.”

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