Sunday, September 30, 2018

The Internal Border at North Hudson

Border Patrol agents at a checkpoint in North HudsonU.S. Customs and Border Protection recently made numerous arrests and seized large amounts of marijuana during a five day checkpoint in Essex County. The agency occasionally sets up this temporary check point near Exit 28 of the Adirondack Northway (I-87). A June operation here resulted in similar arrests and seizure of marijuana, as well as what the agency described as the disruption “of two separate alien smuggling rings.”

The agency put out a statement saying, “Checkpoint operations are a proven enforcement tool to deny criminal organizations the ability to smuggle people, narcotics or other contraband further away from the border and these arrests exemplify that.”

The checkpoint has historically not been without controversy. In September of 2004 it received national attention after four people were killed when a tractor trailer slammed into a parked vehicle. There had been a similar accident in February of that year when 50 people were injured after a tour bus collided with a truck. In 2006, the Essex County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a resolution in opposition to a proposed permanent checkpoint at the site, stating, “it will cause undue traffic congestion and delay and has the potential to be dangerous to motorists and most likely will be ineffective in preventing illegal aliens and others from entering New York State.”

There was also a 1994 lawsuit brought by a Border Patrol agent who was injured when he was struck by a vehicle while on duty at the checkpoint in 1989. In a case that hinged on a U.S. District Court’s interpretation of the 1946 Federal Tort Claims Act, a law which both enables and limits the rights of U.S. citizens to sue government agencies for negligence, the Border Patrol agent sued the driver of the car that struck him as well as the Border Patrol itself, claiming the agency had been negligent in the maintenance of the temporary checkpoint in North Hudson.

There are at least 60 of these checkpoints around the nation at any given time. Federal law mandates that such immigration checkpoints be within 100 miles of an international border, which includes oceans. Roughly two-thirds of the American population resides within this zone.

The legality of these stops has been a matter of ongoing legal debate; however the Supreme Court has consistently upheld the constitutionality of these checkpoints, most notably in the 1976 case, United States vs. Martinez-Fuerte. In a 7-2 decision siding with the government the court wrote that the Border Patrol could constitutionally operate checkpoints within the United States for the purpose of conducting brief, routine questioning in order to verify a person’s citizenship and immigration status. At question was whether these internal immigration checkpoints constituted a violation of the Fourth Amendment right to reasonable search and seizure.

The 1976 decision is widely accepted as legal precedent regarding the matter of Border Patrol immigration checkpoints within the United States and has subsequently been reaffirmed by the high court several times. However, a New Hampshire state judge recently made headlines when he ruled that drugs seized from vehicles at a similar 2017 checkpoint in Woodstock, New Hampshire, were inadmissible in court under that state’s constitution. In his decision New Hampshire Circuit Court Judge Thomas Rappa wrote, “The court finds that while the stated purpose of the checkpoint in this matter was screening for immigration violations, the primary purpose of the action was detection and seizure of drugs.”

The recent North Hudson checkpoint, as well as a coinciding operation in the Tupper Lake area, resulted in the arrest of 16 people from seven nations deemed to be in the country illegally. Border Patrol agents also seized 178 pounds of marijuana and were involved in a brief pursuit of a vehicle that ended with the arrest of a man transporting 44 pounds of marijuana. The checkpoint was operational from September 13th to the 17th.

Photo: Border Patrol agents at the checkpoint in North Hudson. Provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

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Sam Caldwell is a builder, maple syrup producer and writer. He lives in Bolton Landing, NY.




28 Responses

  1. Paul says:

    There were lots of makeshift border checks around places like Canton or west of there a few years back, many post 9-11. I haven’t seen one in a few years and I drive through there often. You see a border patrol car once in a while but that’s about it. The CBP people were always pretty friendly. Was usually heading up north to hunt. I always shared the fact that I had a gun in the car. They didn’t care. They had dogs circle the car, I assume sniffing out drugs. They just ask where you are coming from, where are you are heading and why. Doesn’t bother me.

    • Richard Day says:

      It does not bother you yet wait until they want to look in your car or up your private parts. It does not bother you to be stopped like a criminal and asked where you are going. Good for you I am old enough to remember when our country was free . When you could travel free and never be bothered by the Police State . These people who stop citizens should be ashamed for working for the Police State .

  2. M.P. Heller says:

    Marijuana, Marijuana, Marijuana. BFD. Massachusetts towns will be sending tons of tax dollars from its legal sale to Boston. Albany is watching. Cuomo already had a study “created” by NYS Health to say it’s better to legalize than continue prohibition. It’s coming here too. Soon.

    To continue to spend massive amount of money on a “checkpoint”, then brag about its success in terms of the weed it nabbed is hilarious. They could get a ton and it’s only a fraction of what is grown in the park annually.

  3. Christopher Helms says:

    We have become a police state! Our rights no longer matter. But at least they got a few pounds of pot off the streets LOL.

  4. Balian the Cat says:

    “Border Patrol” is a Federal jobs program. They have to do something once they are hired.

  5. Richard Day says:

    Just another way to take away our freedom of movement why not step all over the rights of citizens . It does not matter to the blue mob if people are killed as a result of an illegal stop on an interstate highway as long as you can justify it by grabbing a few pounds of weed .

    • Billy says:

      No one gets killed by a stop – they get killed by other drivers who are focused on something besides driving and run into/over them.

      • adkDreamer says:

        @Billy. Well then, your comment is simply anecdotal at best. The thrust of Richard Day’s comment is essentially fundamental. Mr. Day is pointing out that any infringement on constitutional rights should be viewed as abhorrent and should not be tolerated by the people. I believe Mr. Day is speaking to probable cause and/or the abuse of it

        • Billy says:

          Simply pointing out that the stop itself (legal or not) doesn’t cause any deaths, not any comment on the legality of such a stop.

          Both points were made in the original comment but it doesn’t say replies have to cover both, and this one didn’t cover both, just correcting an error with one of them. No one wants to cause injuries or deaths to innocent people, but those accidents could occur anywhere or anytime, not just during a stop.

          • adkDreamer says:

            @Billy. Mr. Day is talking about the the stop in its entirety, inter alia, not a single point in time of the stop itself.

  6. Curt Austin says:

    To be an effective deterrent to illegal immigration, these checkpoints would have to be in place far more often than they are, and randomly. If they did that, they could capture illegal immigrants before they could clean out horse stalls at Saratoga, pick apples, or engage in other activities that threaten our way of life.

    I’m not for abolishing ICE, per se, but I am in favor of abolishing stupidity. Innocent people get injured and killed at these checkpoints.

    Marijuana seizures? What year is it? What century is it?

  7. Todd Eastman says:

    Hippies and freedom-loving rednecks unite!

    No ICE road checks inside the border…😊

  8. Boreas says:

    As far as I can see, the only criminals and aliens likely to get caught on a major artery don’t have cell phones – or much common sense.

  9. Charlie S says:

    Curt Austin says: ” I am in favor of abolishing stupidity.”

    We’d lose a good chunk of the population were that to take effect Curt! Heck, we’d welcome immigrants then just to fill in the large gaps.

  10. Charlie S says:

    Curt Austin says: “….they could capture illegal immigrants before they could clean out horse stalls at Saratoga, pick apples, or engage in other activities that threaten our way of life.”

    Our way of life threatened by illegal immigrants? Geez Curt, talk about ignorance, and I don’t say that to be mean-spirited. This isn’t even funny! Our way of life most certainly is threatened and I’d wager two years pay a Mexican has nothing to do with it!

    • Curt Austin says:

      I’m not sure if you missed my sarcasm, or if you are objecting to the point I was trying to make with it. Which is: don’t get so wound up about undocumented aliens that – out of a desperate urge to do something – you take ineffective and dangerous actions to catch them.

      Ignorance means an absence of knowledge. On the subject of immigration, much of the argument stems from something else – our instinctual fear of “other”, plus a misinformation campaign to encourage it rather than suppress it. There are many subjects I have not studied, about which I am therefore ignorant. But I am a former scientist, careful to distinguish between what I know and what I don’t know, and highly resistant to misinformation.

      • Charlie S says:

        Glad to hear you were being sarcastic Curt which I didn’t catch on to and yes I agree with “our instinctual fear…” though I would go a little further and say that it is more a mental weakness, ie…primal stupidity, in this arrogance towards those with a different skin color or who aren’t like us.

        “There is no knowledge – only a lesser state of ignorance.”
        Dagobert D. Runes

      • Kyle Scott says:

        Misinformation & propaganda are a favored tool of the puppet masters these days. Along with ever increasing “security forces”.
        The treasonous Patriot Act was born of such things and somehow has persevered through three, supposedly, very different presidents.

    • adirondackjoe says:

      Charlie, illegal immigration has destroyed 60% of my business. Will YOU take a 60% pay cut with me?

      • Jeff says:

        Not sarcasm – what happened. What type of business do you have that was affected negatively by immigration ?

      • John Warren says:

        adirondack joe is mad that capitalism seeks out the lowest paid workers, and he’s mad those fellow workers didn’t grow up in his neighborhood. Capitalism he’s still cool with.

  11. Samuel Kluck says:

    Great Article.
    Well written. Thanks Sam

  12. adkDreamer says:

    Let’s not misconstrue the Fourth Amendment as quoted in this article as: “At question was whether these internal immigration checkpoints constituted a violation of the Fourth Amendment right to reasonable search and seizure”

    The Fourth Amendment reads: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects,[a] against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

    Reading United States v. Martinez-Fuerte 428 US 543, 96 S. Ct. 3074, 49 L. Ed. 2d 1116 – Supreme Court, 1976, you will be moved to read and follow no less than 16 previous court cases cited 40 times spanning the years 1925 – 1975.

    You will find that the Supreme Court in deciding United States v. Martinez-Fuerte 428 contemplated the previous cases in support of the majority opinion becasue: “previous cases have recognized that maintenance of a traffic-checking program in the interior is necessary because the flow of illegal aliens cannot be controlled effectively at the border” and that the case turns on the notion that “…Motorists using these highways are not taken by surprise”, hence the checkpoints do not constitute any unreasonableness as the court strives to balance the spirit of the Fourth Amendment along with “…reassuring to law-abiding motorists, that the stops are duly authorized and believed to serve the public interest”

  13. Kyle Scott says:

    When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government.

  14. Scott says:

    The fourth amendment does not provide for an entire road, the only road into/out of an entire area, to closed off and funneled into a warrant-less KGB style check point where these sociopaths can interrogate and scrutinize every last person just trying to get to work or home to their family. I don’t appreciate my car with my wife & children being surrounded by a bunch of paramilitary psychos with guns who live under the delusional notion that they are everybody else overlords.

    The People of this nation were pushed too far once before. As Thomas Jefferson once said, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants”

    • Boreas says:

      I am all for refreshing or even replanting the tree of liberty. A constitution should support the will of its authors. A bloody coup – although unrealistic – shouldn’t be necessary in today’s US. But until our 2-party system revisits the concept of compromise, perhaps military intervention would be an alternative – holding both parties by the scruff of their necks, kicking them in the ass, and telling them to get along or there will be no ice cream.

      • Zephyr says:

        Compromise doesn’t work when one party has gone off the rails into the swamp of fake news and conspiracy theories. I am sick of the “both sides do it” excuse for ignoring the fact that one party is unhinged from reality, and it is the one in power at the Federal level. Sure, both parties have made stupid mistakes and created terrible policy, but to ignore facts, science, and the will of the majority of the population is not a way to success.

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