Am I being detained? (via The Mex Files)

WordPress.com has a new feature – reblogging. You can ‘Like’ a post, and having done so, get the option to reblog it on your own blog. Which is what this is….me trying out the new feature. With the most recent post on a WordPress blog I subscribe to that I…well….liked.

I don’t recommend doing what checkpointUSA does without a lawyer and a video-camera in your car (and a car), but I wonder what is going to happen when local police (in places, like, oh… Carefree, Arizona) decide to check out “suspicious” pedestrians.

Sombrero tip to Bender’s Immigration Bulletin. … Read More

via The Mex Files


26 thoughts on “Am I being detained? (via The Mex Files)

  1. Juan Fernando says:

    I’m surprised drug traffickers have not tried this strategy to put pressure on Mexican authorities to stop using “retenes” in highways. I’m kind of torn about the issue: I’ve never been extorsioned or anything like that at a retén, but there is no way around the fact that one is being detained arbitrarily. On the other hand, given the limited capacities of the Mexican State, one wonders what other means can it use to obstruct (obviously not to stop) the flow of weapons and drugs throughout the country.


    • To obstruct the flow of weapons into Mexico from the US, and drugs out of Mexico to the US. To get the directions of the flows precise.

      One does sometimes wonder why the citizens of the US think they are the victim here. Drugs flowing north kill those that take them. It’s a voluntary self harming action. On the otherhand, the guns flowing south, although killing a lot of fellow narcos, also kill innocent people.

      I’m being very simplistic. I know…


  2. Tex says:

    If illegal persons are known to travel this highway, that is the only “reasonable suspicion” needed for agents to stop motorists and inquire as to their citizenship.
    It is not very different than drunk-driving checkpoints which the Supreme Court ruled, in 1990 that the infringement of citizen’s rights caused by DUI checkpoints was overshadowed by the potential public benefit of removing impaired and dangerous drivers from the roads.

    ~ Checkpoints must be published in advance
    o Locations of checkpoints are to be picked based on drunk driving statistics
    o Time frame must be scheduled for effectiveness and minimum intrusiveness
    o Roadside stops must be made according to a formula – not by random or profile targeting
    o Alternate driving routes must be available
    o Warning lights and signs must be clearly visible to alert drivers of slow downs and hazards
    o Drivers cannot be detained beyond what is minimally necessary
    o A supervisor is required to authorize all actions, not arresting officers.
    The pussy who made this film committed four detainable violations that I can think of right off, and is nothing more than a do-nothing attention seeking weasle.


    • Tex, you’ve got your law wrong. Law officers cannot stop anyone to determine their immigration status. They “can only attempt to determine a person’s immigration status during “lawful contact,” which is defined as a lawful stop, detention or arrest. Any “reasonable suspicion” can be derived only through the investigation of another violation or crime.”

      The drunk driving points you make are therefore all completely irrelevant.

      Are the four detainable offences you spotted serious? We all commit offences everyday that in theory are detainable to some extent. In real life, they are just petty things that we all do and make no big difference to anyone.


    • Kim G says:

      So why would it be the case that there are “known illegals” traveling on a highway? If they are known, then why aren’t they stopped? Or if they are known, why are they allowed to even get to the highway?

      Or, if they are already stopped because they are known, then why stop everyone?

      I think the answer is this. They don’t really have any idea at all whether there are illegal aliens driving on a particular road. Unlike drunks who drive erratically, there’s no way to tell from the outside of a moving car whether someone is an illegal alien or not. So the argument that a particular highway is known to be traversed by illegal aliens begs two questions. First, why not detain these “known” illegal aliens without bothering everyone else? Second, if they aren’t as well known as you assert, then what legal basis does DHS have to detain everyone on this particular road?

      Your argument about “known” illegals makes no sense. If they are known, they should be deported forthwith. Otherwise, they aren’t known.



      Kim G
      Boston, MA
      Where we spend a lot of time trying to figure out what is really known vs what is merely believed.


  3. This guy had a lot of ball to question the agent but I have heard that a lot of border patrol agents flaunt their authority. For some unknown reason I am always waive through at roadblocks and while crossing the border. I don’t think that the authorities can create reasonable suspicion just on a whim! Still I would probably acceded to their request not so much on the basis of law but for my own convenience.

    It is wrong and someone needs to question it but I’d let it be the other guy unless this was carried beyond what I would consider reasonable.


    • One of my passions is photography. Here is Mexico you can photo almost anything and no one gives a crap. In the UK there’s a real big deal going on over police and security guards threatening, harassing and illegally detaining photographers.

      It’s up to us all to know the law, and even if we don’t go looking for trouble like this guy, to stand up for our rights should it find us.

      I have plenty in store for anyone in the UK who wants to try and stop me from photographing what I want within the law!

      You, or anyone else, might like this site if you’re interested in stories of police harassment:



  4. Kim G says:

    Interesting video. The whole point of the constitution is checks and balances, and making sure that the government is constrained within the bounds of the constitution and the law. Clearly there are plenty of lazy people in Congress and the DHS who’d rather just do what they want to do, regardless of the legality. This video is a perfect case in point.

    Yet, we are (somewhat uniquely) a country of laws, and if the law doesn’t allow DHS to detain you well within the borders of the USA, well, then they can’t, no matter what kinds of uniforms they might wear, or whatever their pamphlets say.

    And the fact that they knew who this guy was doubles down their error. Not only are they willing to conduct an illegal checkpoint, but they clearly want to hassle this guy. Otherwise they should have just waved him through.

    The fact that such “troublemakers” exist is why we enjoy the freedoms we have in this country. We should be glad that someone out there is willing to literally stand up for his rights because he’s standing up for all of our rights.

    I’d rather have Mexicans pouring over the border by the millions than lose my constitutionally protected freedoms.

    And I don’t want to have to constantly show my papers like someone in a Nazi flick.


    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where the Canadian border is a much bigger issue. Terrorists have actually crossed over from Canada to the US, a fact which everyone conveniently forgets.


      • Kim G says:

        @ Gary

        “Floods of Americans would scare people?” LOL…. Who? The Mexicans? Are they cowering over all the gringos in SMA? Or the Brits? We’re not likely to try to take over the motherland.

        I read the Newsweek article. I didn’t have the statistics, but it makes sense.

        The real issue with immigration is that people fear “The Other.” In this case it’s Mexicans, but in the past it was Irish, Blacks, Eastern Europeans, Jews, etc. This unfortunately appears to be part of human nature.

        But I kind of take to Gore Vidal’s view here. How is immigration different than childbirth? If we don’t want new people in the country, well we’ve got much bigger problems than immigration. And if we’re worried about the cultural impact of Mexico, I can understand that. But, Hello!?! Newsflash!!! That one has already happened. Little kids across America already bash piñatas and eat tacos. They’ve already contributed to American culture. Is keeping a few more Mexicans out really going to change this?


        Kim G
        Boston, MA
        Where we don’t bash piñatas, but never met at taco we didn’t like.


      • I meant to say ‘floods of Mexicans’ of course… 🙂

        I like the childbirth comparison. When the US population hit the 300 million mark, wasn’t there a joke, about whether the 300 millionth person would be born in the US, or be running across the border into the US….


  5. kwallek says:

    Here in Ohio the cops would have yanked him out of the car, smashed his recording gear and then beat the tar out of him. It been like that here my whole life. Beating the truth out of people here in Ohio is pretty much standard practice.


  6. Tex says:

    “…requires law enforcement officials and agencies to make a reasonable attempt to determine the immigration status of a person involved in a stop, detention or arrest in the enforcement of any other law or ordinance of a county, city or town or this state…”

    Interfering with law enforcement in any way is futile not to mention stupid.
    They know from experience where uninsured, unlicensed motorists, traffickers etc. are likely to be found, and are charged with finding them, and it is lawful to stop ’em. The INS has worked in cooperation with the state police for a hundred years here in Texas in their endeavors(presumably in Arizona as well). They do nothing illegal and the whiners have perennialy and frivolously clogged the courts attempting to prove otherwise.
    What may be irrelevant but I think germaine, is that with or without border formalities one is equally likely to be asked about citizenship many miles from the frontier regardless of which side.



    • Tex,

      You’re not actually refuting my point, nor advancing your case. Your own quote, even without the little bit that’s been chopped off, tells police to make checks when a person has been stopped for an offence. Not to stop them to check them.

      Did you watch the video? Tex, the law is clear. The police have no authority to stop someone to make an immigration check. What were Agent Soto’s first words? Something along the lines of ‘This is an immigration check” followed by ‘Are you a US citizen

      Case closed.

      One wonders what Agent Soto would have done had the driver replied “Si, soy un pinche gringo…”


      • It is nice when you have a balanced discussion instead of the kind where one says I am right and therefor you are wrong. I think that Tex is sure that he is right on this matter and so everyone else has to be wrong. One should always leave space to see things from both sides and a least leave a little bit of space for a gray area. I do agree that the video maker acted a bit like an ass but he also was well within his right as an American citizen. Of course I would not say the “Soy un pinche gringo” because I am not. I am somewhere in between, that is neither side wants to claim me. Might qualify for ‘piche chicano troublemaker?


      • Kim G says:

        Actually, one of the ironies of this video is that Agent Soto appears to have been born south of the very border he is now trying to keep from being overrun by his countrymen.

        You just can’t make this stuff up. Real life is just WAY more funny than fiction can ever be.


      • His ancestors could have been trapped on that side of the border when that part of their country was annexed, of course!

        But probably not. I did mention earlier that there’s no guarantee (by any stretch of the imagination) an Hispanic majority in the US would open up the borders. They’ll get snooty too, you know.

        It’s just human nature. We all need someone to look down at. We’re ok, because at 6’3″ we can do it literally without having to resort to snobbery 🙂


      • Kim G says:

        Agent Soto has an accent that would come from having been born south of the border. Either that, or he’s INCREDIBLY well-preserved. Saludos, KG


  7. Your are probably right in saying that there is no guaranty that a Hispanic majority would open up the border. I could say been there. Done that. Tried my very best to blend in with the white majority back then. What might happen is that the undocumented workers that have been in the US for decade would find a more favorable hearing. My grandparents came to the US around the turn of the century. No, not 2000 but 1900. All that they needed back then was a border pass that cost less then ten dollars. Dad was born in Texas and I was born a stones’ throw from the Rio Grand. So being the American that I am I would be all in favor of redoing immigration policy to be more favorable to those already in the country. Would have to think a bit more on those who have yet to arrive.


    • I think it’s fair to say an Hispanic majority, a political majority anyway (which is still quite some way off) would probably be a whole load kinder to those illegals already in the US than wannabe illegals.


  8. Dr. David Ellsworth says:

    I am the author of the book, “Smith County Justice,” an expose of corruption among narcotics officers in Texas. It is still available in Amazon. The point, however, is that abuses violating Constitutional rights require that they be brought before authorities and challenged within the judicial system. All that requires money and for most people it is necessary to suffer the abuses and complain publicly but never pursue the legal route where the offenses can be defined by judges and the guilty punished accordingly.


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