Papers, Please!

by Terry 4/23/2008 5:10:00 PM

Border Patrol "spot checks" on ferries provoke outrage in San Juan Islands
<snip>A couple of months ago, the U.S. Border Patrol began occasional "spot checks" of every vehicle and passenger arriving in Anacortes off state ferries, the lifeline between these islands and the mainland.</snip>

<snip>The Border Patrol responds that the stops are annoying but necessary, the cost of keeping the country safe.</snip>

<snip>San Juan Islanders are used to customs inspections in Anacortes if they take the ferry that comes from Sidney, B.C. Before now, though, they were never subjected to checks on domestic ferry runs.</snip>

Outrage is mild. To me this is outright criminal behavior on the part of the Border Patrol. Maybe someone from California has some insight. I seem to recall a freeway check point off Interstate-5 looking for illegal aliens from the Mexico border. What shocks me is the customs checks are being directed at ferries that have no international stops, but happen to come from US ports where an international ferry sometimes stops.

A few weeks ago a couple friends of mine, both Canadian citizens legally in the US on a work visa, and their visiting British parents were stopped at this non-international customs inspection after a weekend trip to San Juan Island. On returning to the mainland US, having never left US territory, they were grilled for several minutes. This put a bit of worry in their vacation with the parents.

Their treatment by the agents was described as rude at best. The agents made a big stink about not having their passports on them. My friends left them at home thinking that they were not needed as they were not crossing any borders. Their parents had their British passports and were left alone. My friends were told they should carry passports at All Times, even if just walking to the neighborhood grocery store, which, while true in a technically legal stand point, is absurd in practice. Where should I keep my passport while I am swimming at the beach? Their state-issued drivers’ licenses were insufficient proof of residence.

After several minutes of demeaning treatment, they were let go. One friend commented to me the day after they returned home, “next time I will just lie.”

What is interesting is the article puts great sympathy on one family of illegal immigrants caught in this checkpoint. I am sorry to hear they are having issues. I would wish they were not here illegally. Shouldn’t we be fixing that problem on the Mexican-US border?

Papers, Please!

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About Terry Losansky

Terry Dee Losansky

I am a software architect, actively practice and teach martial arts and live in Snoqualmie, Washington. I have an amazing daughter who is the jewel of my life.

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