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ACLU Creates Map of US "Constitution-Free Zone" 979

trackpick points out a recent ACLU initiative to publicize a recent expansion of authority claimed by the Border Patrol to stop and search individuals up to 100 miles from any US border. They have created a map of what they call the US Constitution-Free Zone. "Using data provided by the US Census Bureau, the ACLU has determined that nearly 2/3 of the entire US population (197.4 million people) live within 100 miles of the US land and coastal borders. The government is assuming extraordinary powers to stop and search individuals within this zone. This is not just about the border: This 'Constitution-Free Zone' includes most of the nation's largest metropolitan areas.'"
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ACLU Creates Map of US "Constitution-Free Zone"

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  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Friday October 24, 2008 @03:43PM (#25502025)
    Wouldn't it be easier to make a "Constitution Applies" zone?
    • by hansamurai ( 907719 ) <> on Friday October 24, 2008 @03:50PM (#25502123) Homepage Journal

      The constitution applies in the following zones:

      • Re:Here's a list: (Score:5, Informative)

        by Ethanol-fueled ( 1125189 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @04:23PM (#25502597) Homepage Journal
        It's a huge grey area. I've lived on the southern US border for most of my life and the consolidation of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Border Patrol under the umbrella of "homeland security" is chilling. More and more checkpoints are popping up and what used to be a few routine questions(if even that) is now full-blown random drug searches which targer mostly recreational users. Even more absurd is a checkpoint I have to pass through to go South towards the border! This [] article questions the legality of the checkpoints. Here are some choice quotes:

        The operation, which involves Border Patrol agents diverted from border operations, specifically targets recreational marijuana users at internal suspicionless 'immigration' checkpoints where the county sheriff has cross-certified Homeland Security agents to enforce state/county law as long as the bulk of the citations and fines end up in county coffers...This joint operation serves as a stark example of the inevitable mission creep associated with the use of suspicionless DHS immigration checkpoints against the traveling public inside the country. 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court specifically struck down as unconstitutional, checkpoints used to detect the presence of illegal narcotics...

        and so it goes.

        Another noteworthy but absurt point is that Immigration and Customs is now going after child porn across state lines as part of their shadowy Operation Predator. These are the guys who should be AT THE BORDER checking BAGS and PASSPORTS!

  • by Harin_Teb ( 1005123 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @03:44PM (#25502041)
    I like that Michigan is one of the few elite states that is entirely within the constitution free zone. WOOO go us!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Zenaku ( 821866 )

      The ACLU is making their point very effectively, but I think they drew up this map of theirs rather indiscriminately. I agree with their stance, but. . . their reasoning is sloppy.

      I question the total coverage of Michigan, as they appear to be treating the shores of all the great lakes, including Lake Michigan, as a "costal border," even though Lake Michigan lies entirely within the United State. And they are including much more of Minnesota and Wisconsin than they should as well, again by treating the la

  • What about... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Thelasko ( 1196535 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @03:46PM (#25502081) Journal
  • D.C. (Score:5, Funny)

    by hansamurai ( 907719 ) <> on Friday October 24, 2008 @03:48PM (#25502101) Homepage Journal

    You don't need to tell me that Washington D.C. is within 100 miles of the coast to prove it's a Constitution-Free Zone.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 24, 2008 @03:49PM (#25502107)

    The large interior part looks just like Palin's map of "Real America".

  • We must do this! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by frank_adrian314159 ( 469671 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @03:51PM (#25502149) Homepage

    It's the only way to make Real America (TM) safe from the liberal terrorists inhabiting the border regions!

  • Jurisdiction (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Detritus ( 11846 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @03:57PM (#25502223) Homepage
    What happens if I'm 50 miles away from the border and I tell some nosy Border Patrol agent to get stuffed, I'm under no obligation to answer his questions. If he was stupid enough to make an issue of it, what could he charge me with? I legally don't have to talk to my state and local police, other than to identify myself.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 24, 2008 @03:57PM (#25502225)

    Here in Denmark, we have this thing called visitation zones. In visitation zones, the police are allowed to search and question you without cause.

    The three biggest cities in Denmark; Copenhagen, Odense and Ã...rhus are all visitaion zones and have been for some while now, and we have no idea when this will stop.

    Still is against our constitution, but apparently that dosent matter.

  • Which border? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by a whoabot ( 706122 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @04:00PM (#25502263)

    Which "US land or coastal border" is Milwaukee 100 miles from? Chicago?

  • by Ralph Spoilsport ( 673134 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @04:00PM (#25502269) Journal
    It's done. Stick a fork in it.

    Do yourself a favour: GET THE FUCK OUT NOW.

    The country's been insolvent since January. []

    It's not run under the rule of law as there is no guarantee of habeus corpus. []

    It invaded another country, unprovoked. []

    One election was a failure. []

    And another seems to have been stolen. []

    and after all of this an eloquent thoughtful (and by world standards) centrist is actually facing significant opposition from a third rate pilot and POW turned right wing hack and his "prom queen" veep choice? What the fuck is wrong with you people?

    If you have any sense, get out now, before the border closes, and the country sinks into a blackhole of debt, financial ruin, infrastructural collapse, and fascist tail chasing. Seriously. Just pack your bags and go. If you'e reading this site, it is likely you have skillsets that are desirable all over the world.

    And if you think Obama's gonna fix it all, you're fucking dreaming.


  • by eln ( 21727 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @04:03PM (#25502295)

    I grew up in Las Cruces, New Mexico, and have been through border patrol checkpoints literally hundreds of times. Since I'm white, they always just look in my car (looking for anyone that "looks" illegal, meaning brown people), and wave me on. However, I often see cars pulled over to the side being searched, presumably for drugs.

    The ACLU claims that the Border Patrol regularly exceeds its authority in these checkpoints to look for things other than illegal immigrants or contraband from across the border, and they are absolutely right. It is interesting to note that occasionally one of these border patrol stations will have a sign up telling you what they've accomplished lately. It's never about how many illegal aliens they've captured, but rather how many pounds of narcotics they've confiscated. They claim the right to search your car because you are near the border, and any contraband they find is assumed to have been smuggled across the border, whether it actually was or not.

    To people that have grown up around the Mexican border, it's no surprise that the border patrol can do pretty much whatever they want in these zones. They will pull you aside at these checkpoints for anything that looks suspicious, whether it's related to border security or not, especially if you are Hispanic.

    These checkpoints have always been unsettling to me. While I understand that the Border Patrol needs to be able to operate at least to some degree within our borders in order to protect the border, it is ridiculous that I have to pass through checkpoints just to get from one city in America to another city in America, and that American citizens who happen to be of Hispanic descent are treated as criminals while traveling entirely within the United States just because of their skin color.

    The checkpoint I've been through the most is just north of Las Cruces, New Mexico, and a good 60 miles away from the border. In order to go from Las Cruces (the second largest city in New Mexico) to points north (including Albuquerque, the largest city in New Mexico), you have to pass through this checkpoint. This means that thousands of people every day, most of whom are residents of the state of New Mexico and were not in Mexico at any point in the recent past, get to be harassed by the Border Patrol just because they want to travel within their own state.

    • by mu51c10rd ( 187182 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @04:17PM (#25502511)

      This may explain their actions...look how much a BP officer is paid:

      Q: What is the pay and benefits package?
      A: New agents are hired at the GL-5, GL-7 or GL-9 level depending on education and experience and are paid at a special salary rate for Federal law enforcement personnel. The base starting salary is GL-5 ($36,658), GL-7 ($41,729), and GL-9 ($46,542) grade levels, with excellent opportunity for overtime pay. In addition, you'll receive a uniform allowance of $1500.00 and an excellent Federal Government benefits package including life insurance, health insurance, liberal retirement benefits, and a thrift savings plan (401-K). []

    • by gblackwo ( 1087063 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @04:21PM (#25502579) Homepage
      I also had the luxury to pass through a Las Cruces, NM Border Control Checkpoint.
      Earlier this year, Three friends and I packed into a Pontiac Vibe went down Route 66, and ended up crossing from Phoenix over to Roswell.
      I guess when we passed through the checkpoint we were only about 20 miles from the border, here is precisely how the stop went:

      (Soldier holding machine gun doesn't even approach vehicle as we pull up)
      Soldier: (Yells) Y'all American Citizens?
      Us: (Pause and reply) Yes
      Soldier: (Yells) Okkaaayy

      We leave.
      • by CambodiaSam ( 1153015 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @04:51PM (#25502985)
        I've been through the same checkpoint, and I'm white. They spent about 10 minutes looking around the car and in the trunk. It was a rent car since I was there on business, so it was immaculate, but they took their time anyway checking the vehicle and my documents.

        It really was annoying. I can't imagine doing it on a regular basis, even if this only happens at random intervals. Now that I think about it, random intervals would be even more annoying.
  • by dcollins ( 135727 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @04:03PM (#25502301) Homepage

    What I'd like to see is an analysis of what percentage of the original 13 colonies is in the Constitution-free zone? Just eyeballing it looks like around 80%.

  • by krakround ( 1065064 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @04:05PM (#25502349)
    that are not the real America. Only in pro-America America does the Constitution apply. The rest of America hates America.
  • by nightsweat ( 604367 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @04:12PM (#25502429)
    Lake Michigan is entirely within the bounds of the US. Chicago is nowhere near the border.
  • by smooth wombat ( 796938 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @04:17PM (#25502517) Journal

    If tyranny and oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.

The human mind ordinarily operates at only ten percent of its capacity -- the rest is overhead for the operating system.