ACLU keeping close eye on planned border checkpoints

Jun 01, 2018

BY: Citizens Count

Federal border patrol officials are planning five checkpoints in New Hampshire this summer. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Hampshire is monitoring the checkpoints to ensure they do not violate the constitutional protection against unreasonable search and seizure.

At highway checkpoints, border patrol agents can ask all travelers if they are in the United States legally. Travelers do not have to answer, but if they refuse, border patrol agents may temporarily detain them and try to determine their status.

Click here to learn more about the debate over immigration enforcement in New Hampshire.

Last year border patrol adding a drug-sniffing dog to a checkpoint in Woodstock, New Hampshire. If the dog detected drugs in a car, the car was diverted to a secondary checkpoint, and any drug paraphernalia was passed onto the Woodstock Police Department for prosecution.

The ACLU successfully argued in court that those drug searches violated the constitutional right against unreasonable search and seizure.

“The New Hampshire and Federal Constitutions do not allow law enforcement to engage in a fishing expedition for criminal activity. Yet this is precisely what happened here.”

- Buzz Scherr, Professor, UNH School of Law

According to emails obtained by the ACLU, state and local police are not directly collaborating with border patrol in the five upcoming checkpoints, although border patrol officials could still choose to call them in.

Given the ongoing addiction crisis in the state, some argue that law enforcement should be able to include some drug searches in checkpoints.

Click here to learn more about the debate over drug enforcement efforts in New Hampshire.

Do you have an opinion on border patrol checkpoints in New Hampshire? Share your opinion in the comments below.

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