By Frontera NorteSur
March 21, 2014
Driving on 1-25 north of Las Cruces, New Mexico, motorists are forced to detour through a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint set up to enforce immigration and drug laws. Often, a friendly agent will ask the vehicle occupant (s) to affirm U.S. citizenship status before sending the traveler on his or her way. Occasionally, agents will simply peer into a car and wave travelers on without first asking questions.
Officers can also ask more detailed questions, inquiring about the motorist’s background and comings and goings. Other times, drivers are asked to pull over for a vehicle search that might include a go-over by a dope-sniffing dog.
On Wednesday, March 19, travelers heading north on 1-25 encountered another checkpoint for the first time ever: the “Know your Rights Checkpoint” organized by the
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Positioned just north of the official government checkpoint about 30 minutes from Las Cruces, staff from the ACLU’s New Mexico Regional Center for Border Rights, supported by community volunteers, greeted motorists at a scenic rest stop.
Under the New Mexico sun, the group hoisted signs, urged passerby to report alleged abuses and displayed literature at a table. [...]
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