Friday, May 19, 2017

How US Customs responds to FOIA requests

Customs agents don’t like being on camera. That’s pretty obvious. But what do the rules actually say? What’s the official policy about taking pictures?

I wanted to find out. So, I sent in a Freedom of Information Act request asking for “all documents describing CBP's [Customs and Border Protection] policy and rules on photography and video and/or audio recording within CBP port of entry property, including but not limited to CBP's official written policy, official rules and regulations, standard operating procedures, and training materials. I request all documents, emails, and memos containing information regarding when or under what circumstances a person may be detained and/or arrested for violation of CBP's policy on photography and video and/or audio recording, and what penalties may be imposed on a person for violation of the aforementioned policy.”

Monday, February 22, 2016

And I thought I had it rough (International Megan's Law)

As I've stated elsewhere in this blog, despite having no criminal record, and even in times past when I used to give full cooperation, I've been pulled aside by US Customs for additional detention, interrogation, and bag searches close to 50% of the times that I've entered the United States. But this is nothing compared to what some people have to go through.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Detained by the Border Patrol

“It was not easy to make a journey by yourself without attracting attention. For distances of less than a hundred kilometers it was not necessary to get your passport endorsed, but sometimes there were patrols hanging about the railway stations, who examined the papers of any Party member they found there and asked awkward questions.”

  --George Orwell, 1984

The officials of that security state have bet the farm on the preeminence of the terrorist 'threat,' which has, not so surprisingly, left them eerily reliant on the Islamic State and other such organizations for the perpetuation of their way of life, their career opportunities, their growing powers, and their relative freedom to infringe on basic rights, as well as for that comfortably all-embracing blanket of secrecy that envelops their activities.”

  --Tom Engelhardt

I was detained for nearly an hour at the Border Patrol checkpoint on Interstate 25 north of Las Cruces, New Mexico, for refusal to answer questions.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Border Patrol checkpoint, Sonoita, Arizona

Driving north from the border, I decided to take a different route this time, just to keep things interesting. I took Arizona state highway 82 from Nogales, then state highway 83 at Sonoita.

A few miles north of Sonoita, between mile markers 40 and 41, is a Border Patrol checkpoint. No questions this time; the agent took a look, then said, “Have a good one.”

Friday, December 11, 2015

Nogales again

First, a quick recap for those of you who may be new to this blog.

I'm a US citizen, and I've been repeatedly detained, searched, and interrogated by US Customs despite my best efforts at cooperation. I've come to the point where I don't think I should have to answer and explain myself to the police, when I haven't done anything wrong, as a condition of entering my own country.


Friday, December 4, 2015

Border Patrol checkpoint: "I'd rather not say."

Driving north from Nogales, I went through a Border Patrol checkpoint on Interstate 19 between exits 40 and 42.

Border Patrol agent: "US citizen?"

Me: "I'd rather not say."

Agent: "Have a good day sir. Thank you."

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Crossing the border at Nogales, Arizona

Here it is, as promised: another border crossing story.

Recently I went to a dentist in the US, and she wanted to charge me nearly $1300 for a deep cleaning. I thought that was, well, to put it bluntly, a ripoff. So off I went to Nogales, Mexico, where the dentist charged $150 and did a fine job.

The appointment finished, I walked back to the border and entered the US Customs building. There were only two people in line ahead of me (no hour wait like last time at San Ysidro). I stepped up to the booth, and the agent barked “No cell phones!” to someone behind me.