Many Americans may not be aware of internal border checkpoints within the U.S. These are border checkpoints that don't rest directly on the U.S.-Mexico border, but are within 100 miles of the border.
Some libertarian-minded Americans have refused to show their IDs at these checkpoints and recorded the incidents, which are usually an argument between the vehicle's driver and Border Patrol agents over U.S. law.
Reason.com reports that Greg Rosenberg, a naturalized U.S. citizen originally from Armenia, spent 19 days in jail after an incident with Border Patrol agents in Laredo, Texas (video below).
Rosenberg, a long-haul trucker, and a co-worker were transporting some Xerox machines to Ft. Worth, Texas, when they were stopped at the Laredo North Border Patrol Station on Sept. 26, 2014.
Rosenberg, a self-described checkpoint protester, told the Border Patrol agents that he had a legal right not to answer their questions.
Border Patrol agents told Rosenberg to pull his truck over, but the trucker said they didn't have probable cause.
In a video recorded on a cellphone by Rosenberg's friend, a Border Patrol agent cited the Immigration Nationality Act and a U.S. Supreme Court ruling from 1976 which allows the U.S. government to set up checkpoints that lead to or away from the U.S.-Mexico border and to search vehicles under specific restrictions without violating the Fourth Amendment.
Rosenberg claims that the Border Patrol agents wanted him to apologize, but he refused, so the station chief charged him for "impeding Border Patrol duties" under a "resisting arrest" statute.
Rosenberg says that he was not able to see his lawyer until after two weeks of imprisonment. After 19 days, the U.S. government suddenly dropped the charge and released Rosenberg.
Immigration attorney Prerna Lai, who represents Rosenberg in a lawsuit against the U.S. government, told Reason.com that the trucker's civil rights were violated and he suffered false imprisonment.
The ACLU notes:
Border Patrol, nevertheless, cannot pull anyone over without 'reasonable suspicion' of an immigration violation or crime (reasonable suspicion is more than just a 'hunch'). Similarly, Border Patrol cannot search vehicles in the 100-mile zone without a warrant or 'probable cause' (a reasonable belief, based on the circumstances, that an immigration violation or crime has likely occurred).
Because Rosenberg never gave consent for the search of his truck and claims Border Agents didn't have probable cause to search the vehicle or detain him, which the U.S. government seems to support by releasing him, he may have a strong lawsuit.