A San Diego teacher recently refused to say if she was a U.S. citizen while going through a non-border checkpoint in New Mexico (video below).
Shane Parmely refused the Border Patrol agent's request while her kids filmed from inside her car, notes The San Diego Union-Tribune.
"Citizens?" the agent asked.
"Are we crossing the border?" Parmely replied.
"No, but are you United States citizens?" the agent asked.
Parmely fired back: "Are we crossing the border? I've never been asked if I'm a citizen before when traveling down the road."
"You are required to answer an immigration question," the agent told Parmely. "You are not required to answer any other questions."
Parmely asked what criminal violation she was being detained for, and the agent referred her to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that allows agents at non-border checkpoints to question people's citizenship within 100 miles of a border.
"So if I just come through and say, 'Yes, I’m a citizen,' I can just go ahead?" Parmely inquired.
The agent replied: "If the agent is justified by the answer, then yes."
"So if I have an accent, and I’m brown, can I just say, 'Yes,' and go ahead or do I have to prove it?" Parmely fired back. "I have a bunch of teacher friends who are sick of their kids being discriminated against."
The agent insisted that he was not discriminating against anyone.
During the 90-minute detainment, Parmely's son asked to use a bathroom, but an agent reportedly refused to allow the youngster to empty his bladder until his mom answered the citizenship question; a second agent came to the vehicle and took the boy to a bathroom.
The agents eventually released Parmely, who never answered their citizenship question.
Parmely, who is white, told KGTV she was protesting because her Latino friends are often stopped at these non-border checkpoints while white people are allowed through.
"My entire life, everybody just got waved through," Parmely recalled. "There was no stopping."
"We would have no civil rights if people didn't question authority or challenge the status quo," Parmely added.
Parmely's friend and fellow teacher Gretel Rodriquez endorsed her protest: "Hopefully, she's starting someone else to say, hey, needs to stop. If everyone’s being asked and everyone is being interrogated I might accept it, but even then, we probably realize it's not right."
Parmely said that if white people got stopped more often, change would happen: "If it would inconvenience too many white people then the system would change, and that's really the only time anything changes is when too many white people get inconvenienced."