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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 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.

  • Re:I like that... (Score:5, Informative)

    by _xeno_ ( 155264 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @04:00PM (#25502261) Homepage Journal

    Vermont is the only New England state that isn't completely encompassed. There's a small southwestern corner that's more than 100 miles from the border. It's hard to tell, but according to the pop-up, all of Massachusetts is covered. (The "Syracuse" label could be covering up a small chunk of gray in Massachusetts, it comes near the little corner of Vermont.)

    So the list of "completely covered" states is:

    • Connecticutt
    • Delaware
    • Florida
    • Hawaii
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • Michigan
    • New Hampshire
    • New Jersey
    • Rhode Island

    According to the popup, Maryland is not 100% covered, but it comes close.

  • 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 Daniel Dvorkin ( 106857 ) * on Friday October 24, 2008 @04:08PM (#25502385) Homepage Journal

    If we have right to "lawyers" (nowhere in the Constitution) then why aren't we supporting giving arms to everyone who can't afford them?

    6th Amendment:

    "In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district where in the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense." (emphasis mine)

    I will never understand why people who are so concerned about the 2nd Amendment tend to be so contemptuous of the other nine in the Bill of Rights, and vice versa. It's all of a piece, folks. If you support all of them, you support freedom. If you pick and choose, then you support freedom only for people who think exactly like you do, which of course is no freedom at all.

  • Re:Which border? (Score:2, Informative)

    by MHz-Man ( 1066086 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @04:11PM (#25502425)
    It looks like they are counting any coastal areas, including rivers and lakes that eventually connect to the ocean. I was surprised to see my entire area around Washington D.C. in there. If they counted it from the ocean on the other side of Maryland, DC might POSSIBLY be included, but it looks like they are considering 100 miles inland from the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay as a Constitution Free zone as well, which means some parts of West Virginia are included too.

    It seems like a bit of a stretch as I haven't heard of any DHS stops around here like what the ones that were happening in Washington State, but it's still good to know exactly which areas DHS believes they can legally rape us in.
  • 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.
  • 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 torstenvl ( 769732 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @04:27PM (#25502661)

    The right to a defense attorney in a CRIMINAL trial is implicit...


    In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy ... the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

    U.S. Const., Amd VI

    THIS is why our rights are eroding! Nobody even knows what they are! There is an EXPLICIT right to the assistance of counsel in criminal prosecutions. Say it with me:

    Explicit right to counsel! Explicit right to counsel! Explicit right to counsel!

    I'm going to go cry for the future of my country now. G'bye. :-(

  • by Daniel Dvorkin ( 106857 ) * on Friday October 24, 2008 @04:29PM (#25502675) Homepage Journal

    Except that in this case, GGPP and GPP are both wrong; the right to an attorney is explicit in the 6th Amendment. It would be really great if people making Constitutional arguments would read the thing first.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 24, 2008 @04:35PM (#25502759)

    Search for the "battle of athens", a post-WWII event in the continental US, where armed citizens eliminated election fraud.

  • Re:Stupid Guns (Score:5, Informative)

    by houghi ( 78078 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @04:39PM (#25502817)

    Oh please. I'll acknowledge that you have the right to own guns for self protection and for hunting.

    Wikipedia link []
    The Second Amendment, as passed by the House and Senate, reads:
    A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

    The original and copies distributed to the states, and then ratified by them, had different capitalization and punctuation:
    A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

    I read nothing about hunting. What I see that there must be a militia that must be allowed to be armed. Reading on the history of the law, you notice this is about soldiers and defence. Nothing about hunting at all.

    Doesn't change anything obviously, because everybody will say they need it for self-defence.

  • by pugugly ( 152978 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @04:48PM (#25502945)

    Thanks - I was going to look that up but you got there first.

    For Reference Purpose: Sixth Amendement []

    Amendment 6 - Right to Speedy Trial, Confrontation of Witnesses. Ratified 12/15/1791.

    In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence .


  • by Anti_Climax ( 447121 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @04:59PM (#25503101)

    Strange, I took the US citizenship/naturalization practice test online out of curiosity and one of the questions was "To whom does the US constitution apply?" it was multiple choice, among the answers was "US citizens" and "Anyone in the United States"

    I went with the latter and got it right. Granted there are portions of the constitution that refer to citizens specifically and those obviously would not apply. However, many portions are much more broad in their scope and the constitution as a whole is certainly applicable to all people within our border.

  • Re:Here's a list: (Score:2, Informative)

    by johnlcallaway ( 165670 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @05:22PM (#25503423)

    I've driven between Phoenix and San Diego numerous times over the last 5 years, and never been asked anything. I roll down my window, turn on the dome light and turn off the headlights if it's night, smile and say 'Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening' to the nice man or woman, and have always been waved on my way.

  • by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @05:33PM (#25503599) Homepage Journal
    I'd heard about this awhile back, and saw this series of videos on youtube where this guy goes by one of these illegal checkpoints and documents them. This is one of them [] it jumps around a lot, but, in the middle of all this...he shows they really have no authority to actually stop and question you. He repeatedly refuses to answer their questions, or roll down his windows...and keeps asking why he is being stopped or if he is being detained....eventually, they get tired of him and let him go.

    Takes some balls to pull this IMHO...but, does show if you know your rights, you don't have to put up with this shit. Take a look at some of his videos...some are really interesting about how they try to get him to do stuff and answer questions they really have no authority to do. It is obvious because through all these stops....they finally pass him through.

  • Re:Stupid Guns (Score:2, Informative)

    by Utini420 ( 444935 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @05:54PM (#25503839)

    that's EXACTLY what I was thinking of, except that Weaver was so easily demonized.

    Kinda inspiring how long he kept 'em screwing around out there, though.

  • Re:Stupid Guns (Score:3, Informative)

    by jabithew ( 1340853 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @05:55PM (#25503843)

    1812 Overture was the Russian defeat of Napoleon's Grande Armee. Nothing to do with America's war in 1812, except the strategic consideration that Britain was somewhat busy.

    The fact that the star spangled banner was written about the 1812 war in North America doesn't stop it being a fiasco. Consider the Charge of the Light Brigade, or the popular British conceptions about the Falklands conflict.

  • by lastchance_000 ( 847415 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @06:04PM (#25503945)

    Specifically, he declined to give them permission to search, so they told him to get out of his car and brought the dogs over.

    "Whaddaya know mister, the dogs smelled sumthin'. Hey, boys, looks like we got that there probable cause!"

  • by HiddenL ( 967659 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @06:04PM (#25503949)

    I suggest you read:,,id=159932,00.html []

    It shows numerous "I don't have to pay tax" arguments as well as case law and reasoning.

  • by Veinor ( 871770 ) <> on Friday October 24, 2008 @06:12PM (#25504039)

    "So which of the emumerated powers in the U.S. Constitution give Federal Government the power to redistribute individual wealth, provide for individual education, provide for individual welfare and security?"

    Article I, section 8: "The Congress shall have pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States." Providing for the welfare of the individual, as well as providing them with an education, falls under general welfare.

    "Why is it that the unborn are deprived of life without due process?"

    The unborn are not legally considered 'people,' so abortion isn't unconstitutional any more than hunting animals is.

  • by Ethanol-fueled ( 1125189 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @06:19PM (#25504139) Homepage Journal
    Here's [] a better example of the insane inconsistency of the immigration goons.

    Basically, ICE(immigration/customs) recently raided an Ohio meat-packing plant for employing a large number of illegal immigrants.

    Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, proud immigrants(many of them illegal) march downtown every year in protest of immigration law. L.A. is notorious for being an illegals' stronghold, but does ICE crack down there? Hell no, even though they could make a much better example with thousands upon thousands of arrests.
  • Re:Apples and Nukes (Score:5, Informative)

    by Python ( 1141 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @06:28PM (#25504245)
    I'm sorry young man but you are misinformed about warfare and even modern history and asymmetric warfare and the use of small arms therein.

    Since you chose to open with an appeal to authority I'll respond in kind. I too am a multi decade combat arms Army vet with combat experience. The wins we have made in Iraq did not happen because of our superior forces, technology and tactics but through a political choice made by many insurgents to put down their weapons and join our side. We were not going turn Iraq until that happened - mass on target doesn't work in the modern battle field. Don't kid yourself it was a holding action at best until those insurgents decided it was in their best interests to stop fighting. Asymmetrical wars can not be won via conventional means alone.

    To wit, the Iraqis NEVER had air power, artillery or anything more modern than explosives (IEDs, etc.) and small arms - with the occasional special unit with a better RPG - and yet they held against the finest fighting force the world has ever seen until they CHOOSE to put down their weapons. Its the war not the battle you have to look at. Yes you can win every battle and yet still lose a war.

    Lets look at it more carefully. Iraq was not won with our bad ass fighting forces alone. Armed populations will not aqueous until a time of their own choosing - smashing villages in force just keeps producing more insurgents - which is the REAL reason we don't do that. It has nothing to do with a lack of will on our part, its just good sound strategy. If you want to be percieved as the good guy, you have to act the part. So in a complicated war that involves real time propaganda - or at least video and a means to send it to the population faster than we have ever had in the past - an armed militia force can indeed win against a more advanced force. You've cited examples yourself. But lets look at your example of this not working with an army that doesn't care and WILL kill whole villages: Afghanistan circa 1980s: The Soviet Union WAS an advanced force, did wipe out whole villages, was BRUTAL to the afghans and the rag bags that took them on with nothing more than springfield bolt action rifles (which we technology superior to the AK-47 and AK-74 because they could engage beyond 400 meters, whereas the AK line could not) and guess who is NOT in Afghanistan anymore? Did the rag bags have stingers? Yes, did they have tanks? No, nor did they have any mass fire at all. Did the soviets care about civilian casualties? NO! They poisoned wells, wiped out villages, carrief out mass bombing campaigns and did this for YEARS. AND YET THEY LOST. Those ignorant mountain peasants with small arms, a handful of stingers and simple explosives got the Soviets to quit. They simply wore then down.

    Another example: you mention Vietnam, yes there is another fine example of asymmetry in warfare - small arms again with some limited use of explosives. Did we bomb the hell out free fire zones - you bet your ass we did. We kills lots and lots of civilians and it made no difference. Break the enemies will and you win. You don't have to have a better, stronger or more advanced force to win a war you simply have to be more determined to win.

    And if you are a military veteran (you imply that you are) then you should know about Somalia. There is black day for the US Army that should be burned into the brains of everyone in a western military force. If you recall, thats where an inferior fighting force could be argued to have won against a superior force with nothing but small arms and 2nd generation RPGs. Did they win the battle? Fuck no. But if you recall, we (the US) left because it was simply not worth it to us to continue the fight. To win against a superior force you don't have to defeat them - you simply have to get them to quit. So you miss the point of the 2nd amendment - its about being able to fight back and you miss the lesson about assymetric warfare that the founding fathers DID understand: You can lose the battl

  • by Phantom of the Opera ( 1867 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @06:39PM (#25504349) Homepage

    I think we have a Ron Paul supporter.

    Seriously though... you want to push for drug legalization, that's fine. But you CAN NOT tell me that drug gangs who commit all sorts of crimes (including kidnap and murder) and deliberately get people hooked on these things are somehow simply practicing "civil disobedience" by "not following the law."

    There's a big difference between a 75-year-old granny with cancer who grows a couple marijuana plants so she can puff on the leaves and bake marijuana-butter brownies to keep her appetite up, and organized groups that engage in rape, murder, racketeering, smuggling, and turf wars with a side order of drug sales.

    And you haven't addressed the damage caused by wage depression, theft of services, and damage to the school system caused by illegal immigration and human smuggling (which gets back to the rape/prostitution rings run by the gangs too) either.

    The assumption is that the illegality of the drugs causes the violence.

    Datapoint. Prohibition. Alcohol was illegal. People murdered over the control of the illicit trade. It's not illegal now, and people are not killing each other to supply it. Alcohol cost much more due to the articial scaricity.

    There are people today who rob to get their alcohol to feed their addictions, but you don't hear too often about liquor store owners doing drive by shootings against their liquor store rivals.

    It boils down to this : people on drugs may be dangerous depending on the drug. Drunks can be dangerous, too. We've survived the drunks. We can survive the potheads.

    As for immigrants, they seem to be the hardest workers around. I think that is why people don't like them; with them, people are expected to work harder. Why, just being American means prosperity without working hard is a birthright, right?

    Just allow work visas that don't guarantee a path to citizenship. That way labor laws can be enforced sensibly and taxes be collected. Like it or not, the illegals contribute a huge amount to the economy.

    We should do the right thing (either crack down on illegal employment or legalize it with fair wage), and that will require us to sacrifice (oh noes) by having much higher food prices.

  • by Noren ( 605012 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @06:52PM (#25504487)

    And also may I point out: You are required by law in every state to carry your drivers' license, automobile registration and proof of insurance papers, if you are driving a vehicle (car, truck, minivan, etc). When such vehicles are crossing the border, the US government has a real and important interest in doublechecking that the driver is not either (a) entering or (b) leaving the country with a STOLEN vehicle.

    This is false. There is no requirement for any of that to drive a vehicle.

    Those requirements only apply to driving on public roads (and, in some cases, public land.) None of those apply to someone driving on private property. We allow the government to require as to have these things in exchange for the use of public facilities- it's not a blanket right of the government.

  • Re:Stupid Guns (Score:3, Informative)

    by ScrewMaster ( 602015 ) * on Friday October 24, 2008 @07:00PM (#25504557)

    As far as I know, no nation in the world allows you self-defense against the state (also known as cop-killing).

    That's one of the most impressively deliberate misunderstandings of the United States Constitution that I've encountered on Slashdot. I challenge you to find any reference in the Constitution or any of the Founders' writings that in any way promotes "cop killing." The fact that our Founders specifically codified a defense against the State into the highest law of our land should give you pause. ALL STATES decay over time ... it's inevitable. Unlike all those other governments, though, the Founders recognized that governmental entropy exists, and did their best to stave it off for as long as possible. They also recognized that an unarmed population is at the mercy of the first demagogue to come along. They also fully expected (and required) the Citizens of this country to guide their government to the betterment of all, to keep it honest ... and destroy and replace that government if there is no other option.

    As I understand it

    You don't understand it. Any of it, I would venture to guess. Read the Constitution. Read what the Founders wrote, read what they were trying to achieve, understand their logic, their reasoning. Understand what it is that America is losing to an overarching government. Understand ... and don't come back until you do.

  • Ungarbled version (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 24, 2008 @07:06PM (#25504627)
    Do you really want to live in a place where there's such a thing as "a perfectly legal stop to verify documentation"? That's not the America I grew up in.

    Currently in New York City it is law that cops can stop you and search "backpacks or other large containers" []. The Second Amendment for years has only been available to the rich, well connected, or good-old-boy (former cops). [] The First Amendment can be restricted at the pleasure of politicians to avoid uncomfortable press in cities across America since the invention of the "First Amendment Zone" []

    Maybe that's what Governor Palin means when she says small towns are more pro-America, she means they are still protected by the Constitution.
  • by k1e0x ( 1040314 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @07:45PM (#25504989) Homepage

    Where as I agree with you, and note you probbly understand this.. I wanted to make it clear, the Constitution does not grant you rights. It places a restriction on only government but grants you nothing.

    Tomorrow congress could pass an amendment saying..

    "All previous amendments to this document are void, and generous amounts of lube shall not be applied."

    You still have rights. Bush could BURN the Constitution and you still have rights.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 24, 2008 @08:04PM (#25505161)
    Yep []
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 24, 2008 @09:10PM (#25505763)
    There've been reported incidents with the border patrol around here too, but "around here" is Upper Michigan.
  • by docdoc ( 518231 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @09:55PM (#25506059)
    If I drive from Tucson to San Diego on I-8,besides the AZ/CA border at Yuma, I typically pass through about 3 of such checkpoints. There it is not uncommon to be asked for ID, and if you have an accent (as my parents do) for a passport/green-card. If I drive to Sierra Vista from Tucson (nearer the border) I sometimes get stopped at a "mobile" checkpoint and get asked for ID, what I'm doing, etc. The point is, none of that activity has anything to do with crossing borders, but occurs near the border, and I would argue does not qualify as "something for which papers should be required", beyond presumably a driver's license.
  • by swillden ( 191260 ) <> on Friday October 24, 2008 @10:57PM (#25506411) Homepage Journal

    I guess if you wanted to debate it, you have to first be born to become a US Citizen, so any unborn child is therefore not a citizen.

    That's irrelevant. The constitutional protections apply to non-citizens, too.

  • by ScrewMaster ( 602015 ) * on Saturday October 25, 2008 @06:38PM (#25512615)
    The right to vote, for one.

    Read this []. It's the first thing I Googled. It's a PDF, but informative.

"I'm not afraid of dying, I just don't want to be there when it happens." -- Woody Allen