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

    by Thelasko ( 1196535 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @03:46PM (#25502081) Journal
  • 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 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%.

  • Re:D.C. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dachannien ( 617929 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @04:04PM (#25502323)

    Nah, the Supreme Court finally told the D.C. government that at least part of the Constitution [] actually does apply there.

  • Re:Just trying (Score:5, Interesting)

    by megamerican ( 1073936 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @04:06PM (#25502365)

    The message is simple, "You have no rights."

    Seriously, does anyone think that this really has anything to do with illegal immigration? There are plenty of laws on the books to stop them from coming in and to deport them, however there is a severe lack of Federal authorities using those laws. This has everything to do with getting people used to being searched illegally.

    Many times local police will pick up an illegal immigrant for drunk driving or another offense, they'll call the feds, and the feds will do nothing.

    A year ago in MN a woman ran into a school bus, killing 3. It turned out she was here illegally and had been arrested before. The local police called INS (during the first arrest) and they wouldn't do anything about it.

  • Re:Jurisdiction (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Reece400 ( 584378 ) <> on Friday October 24, 2008 @04:08PM (#25502391)
    Well, considering they don't feel the constitution applies, they probably don't feel too strongly about about any of your right. You probably don't want to try this.
  • Re:Jurisdiction (Score:5, Interesting)

    by marcop ( 205587 ) < minus author> on Friday October 24, 2008 @04:21PM (#25502569) Homepage

    I wouldn't tell them to get stuffed. However, you could try what this guy does... []

    One of his last ones he was stopped there for like 7 minutes until they let him go.

    The first one is good too: []

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

    by Khyber ( 864651 ) <> on Friday October 24, 2008 @04:26PM (#25502623) Homepage Journal

    "Especially absurd is the recurring theory that private guns prevent the national government from becoming dictatorship."

    I love how people tend to forget we're a nation born of revolt and war, tempered in the fires of combat, using pretty much PRIVATE WEAPONS against a MUCH LARGER ARMY.

    Pay closer attention to history. If it can happen ONCE and create a new country, it can happen again.

  • by benjamindees ( 441808 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @04:27PM (#25502655) Homepage

    For advocating an open border. If the American civil liberties union spent their time defending the liberties of Americans instead of illegal immigrants, there would not be an excuse to extend border enforcement halfway into neighboring states.

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

    by Daniel Dvorkin ( 106857 ) * on Friday October 24, 2008 @04:32PM (#25502709) Homepage Journal

    I love how people tend to forget we're a nation born of revolt and war, tempered in the fires of combat, using pretty much PRIVATE WEAPONS against a MUCH LARGER ARMY.

    I love how people tend to forget that the Colonial militias were getting their asses kicked by the redcoats until a bunch of Germans and -- yes -- Frenchmen came over and taught us how to fight as an actual army.

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

    by moxjake ( 557231 ) <jpbower@mtu.eTIGERdu minus cat> on Friday October 24, 2008 @04:32PM (#25502715) Journal
    I was wondering this myself. Lake Michigan is entirely U.S. territory. Does O'Hare count as a border or something?
  • Keep posting so we know exactly when they come and haul you away.

    you know, I was actually kind of hesitant to post this half-joke, but you see, that is the problem.

    The USA is not a place where one should be worried about what one says; Especially when it is in defense of the constitution. I'm not going to be cowed into speaking of this crap in hushed tones.

    Posting to forums and other distributed places gives a much louder and far-reaching voice than any megaphone or soapbox could offer. So I will explicitly state that I think when rights of US (and all free) citizens are taken, there is a point where the country is no longer itself.

    If this house falls, it is our duty to rebuild it whatever the cost.

    I am ready for that lame event and willing to take action, but I'm sure not eager!

    I just hope the foundation holds.

  • 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.
  • Re:Stupid Guns (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Actually, I do RTFA ( 1058596 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @04:59PM (#25503103)

    a bunch of Germans and -- yes -- Frenchmen came over and taught us how to fight as an actual army.

    More Polish than German, but then again the borders back then weren't the same, Germany and Italy being comprised on many little pieces. But a more important complaint: we were still losing once they taught us to fight like an Army (after all, there were ex-soldiers leading the milita). The 10,000 soldiers the French sent, the Navy, the guns and ammunition, probably all helped more than the expertse.

    And you left out that the "private weapons" he mentioned included cannons (the most sophisticated weapons of the time), and other British Army weapons.

  • Am I the only one? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by RecycledElectrons ( 695206 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @05:06PM (#25503185)

    Am I the only one who is scheduling trips to the firing range much more frequently?

    Andy Out!

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

    by nsayer ( 86181 ) * <> on Friday October 24, 2008 @05:14PM (#25503301) Homepage

    But just because Big Brother can blow your house down, don't just roll over on the assumption that he will. Make him do it, and live with the consequences.

    I's already happened. Big Brother did blow someone's house down [], and there were consequences [].

  • Apples and Nukes (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DG ( 989 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @05:21PM (#25503405) Homepage Journal

    DISCLAIMER: I am posting from Kandahar City, Afghanistan, where I am stationed for the next little while.

    The example you cite - the American Revolution - hasn't been applicable to the real world since the last years of the American Civil War.

    The time period from the early 1700s to the late 1800s was dominated by the smoothbore, muzzle-loading musket, and its big brother, the smoothbore, muzzle-loading, solid-shot cannon (of which there were few in the Colonies)

    An American Rebel, armed with a flintlock Kentucky Rifle, carried a weapon that was the technological equal of his British Regular Army counterpart. In some ways (range and accuracy) it was superior; in others (rate of fire) inferior. Employed properly, entirely comparable.

    The success of armies in this era was largely a function of discipline, leadership, and logistics. If you had a cause sufficient to unite men in common purpose, leaders with enough tactical acumen to employ them, and paid attention to the problems of supply, it was entirely possible to go head to head with a national, professional, regular army and win outright on the battlefield - especially if your "professional" opponent was lacking in one of these vital areas.

    That is no longer the case. No militia is capable of withstanding the kind of destructive force a modern combat team (a company of mechanized infantry, a troop of tanks, and two artillery pieces) is capable of putting out.

    The insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan die - in large numbers - any time they try to go toe-to-toe with modern combat forces. It's no contest; so hopelessly lopsided that it's almost pathetic.

    The only weapon that is at all effective is the Improvised Explosive Device (basically a really big land mine) but the IED is not a decisive weapon; it is a harassment tactic, not a war-winner.

    The insurgent plays off our unwillingness to inflict civillian casulties. If we take fire from a village, it is entirely within our combat power to stop the entire village flat (in seconds!) to get him. We choose not to for very good reasons.

    But if a government WERE willing to inflict those kinds of casulties (and please note that I am NOT advocating such a course of action) any would-be rebels would find themselves in a world of hurt very quickly. The idea that a self-organized citizen militia could take on and defeat the US Army, Navy, and Air Force is simply laughable.

    Yes, the North Vietnamese pulled it off, but that was because the will to do what was necessary to win wasn't there. Within the boundaries of the United States proper, however, it is safe to say that will exists, given that the army that has killed more Americans than all other armies in all other American wars *combined* is the US Army. Ask Lincoln and Grant if they had the will to do what was necessary to win. or better yet, ask Lee.

    Your Second Amendment is nice in theory. In practice, it is a paper tiger.


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

    by dltaylor ( 7510 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @05:23PM (#25503451)

    There are a couple of weaknesses in that argument:

    "look and speak like" clearly doesn't apply to the gangsters' "soldiers" in urban areas where black-on-black and brown-on-brown violence (and white-on-white in less-urban) is prevalent. Neither does it apply to an army trained in "civilian pacification" (slaughter) where the admission standards have been lowered to allow criminals to join, as in the United States Army.

    History has show that US Army soldiers are quite willing to kill anyone, as ordered, in the US. From the Whiskey Rebellion, through the Draft Riots (when Lincoln first enslaved free men to fight his war), through Kent State, with a detour through the forced labor enforced by the US Army on workers at a aircraft plant BEFORE we entered WWII, there is no time when the US Army has refused to employ deadly force on US civilians.

  • by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @05:39PM (#25503693) Homepage Journal
    "Amendment 16, (1913), "The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration."

    I know they won't accept it as a defense against tax evasion, but, isn't there some real questions of merit over whether this amendment was fully or correctly (according to the law) ratified properly?

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

    by NoOneInParticular ( 221808 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @05:45PM (#25503733)

    Well, do you acknowledge the right of self defense against agents of an oppressive state?

    Is this one of the human rights? As far as I know, no nation in the world allows you self-defense against the state (also known as cop-killing). There is also no nation in the world that has a law on the books that states: "If we, your government, suddenly turns oppressive (determined by the citizen's opinion), it is hunky dory to kill cops." As I understand it, the 2nd amendment gives you the right to wave your guns around, it doesn't give you the right to use them on people.

    And as a final note. You do realize that Iraq under Saddam had a pretty high percentage of private gun ownership? It didn't seem to matter.

  • Re:Apples and Nukes (Score:3, Interesting)

    by GuruBuckaroo ( 833982 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @05:49PM (#25503775) Homepage

    I salute you, sir, and thank you for your service. And for your clear thinking in this quagmire of punditry.

    To expand on the "apples v. nukes" comparison, let's not forget that the Revolutionary Armies were fighting on home turf - while the British were a long way from home, with long supply lines, and were involved with half a dozen or more other conflicts at the same time. If they had been able to focus solely on us, we would still be the Queen's subjects.

    Modern revolutionaries might also be fighting from home turf - but the advantage is lost, because so is the Army.

    Let's not even start talking about air superiority.

  • Opposite questions: (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Moryath ( 553296 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @05:50PM (#25503803)

    - Do you think the government has a real, and appropriate, interest in knowing who and what is coming in and out of the country?

    - If so, why is it inappropriate to check at the borders (or at the nearest available transit points) that those crossing have their citizenship documentation or passport and visa documentation, as they are required to carry by law for all cross-border travel?

    Yes, I want to live in a country where the laws are enforced. Being "randomly" stopped on the street in the middle of the day to check that I have ID papers on me? That is inappropriate. Being checked for my papers when I am doing something for which papers are required, such as traveling between two countries, is not.

    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.

  • by ScrewMaster ( 602015 ) * on Friday October 24, 2008 @05:52PM (#25503817)

    That's not the America I grew up in

    Sadly, it looks like the America you're probably going to die in though.

    I'm glad I don't have kids. Yes, I know, people said the same thing in the fifties and sixties, with the threat of atomic war with Russia hanging over their heads and we survived the Cold War. Not that we're exactly out of the woods, but we haven't died in a nuclear holocaust. Those times were pretty damned scary, but I have to admit: if my parents had succumbed to those fears I wouldn't be here. They took the chance that life would go on, that the final conflict would never come. And it hasn't, yet.

    Nevertheless, we have bigger fish to fry nowadays. We are not dealing now with an externality, such as fear of encroaching Communism that motivated our behavior during the Cold War. Yet, the problem is no less ideological in nature, and what makes it worse is that the ideologues in question happen to be running our government. Actually, "ideologue" is perhaps too mild a term. "Sociopath" comes closer to the mark, I think.

    I'm not certain this trend can be reversed either, because far too many of us are in support of it. Many of us are afraid of illegal immigration (with good reason, it's true) and look upon these security "enhancements" with an uncritical eye. Others are swayed by the usual "think of the children" arguments, and again give the Government a free pass. In any case, throwing away whatever remains of our vaunted Constitution, whatever is left of our humanity, is not a viable solution. Long term, allowing our fears to be played upon by an ever-more-powerful State is going to cost us. Bigtime.

    By the time the full effects are felt by most of us, well, I don't know. We may be in too deep by then. "Constitution Free Zones" show how far we've fallen in a few short years.

  • by pavon ( 30274 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @06:12PM (#25504047)

    Baton Rougue is almost 300 miles from Mexico and Cuba as the crow flies, and over 600 miles from Mexico by the shortest roads. And you are extrapolating this to say that they entire argument is crap? The simple fact that a state which does not border any country has a "Border Patrol" is ridiculous.

    I live and travel in the southwest and I can tell you for a fact that it is not crap. Border Patrol has permanent checkpoints located far inland between major cities in the states, not between the border and the first major city. They stop every single car that drives through. They often have drug dogs go around and sniff cars before they let you drive on. They occasionally perform random searches on peoples cars. The only reason that this is not considered a blatant violation of constitutional limits on search and seizure, is because the courts have significantly widened their interpretation of what constitutes a customs and border search.

    Furthermore, the fact is that regardless of whether the Border Patrol is exercising their power in LA, they do have that power and can choose to do so at any time.

    About once every 30-50 stops, they make an arrest - a SINGLE arrest.

    So by your own words they are stopping and harassing hundreds of innocent citizens for every single arrest that they make.

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

    by Python ( 1141 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @06:34PM (#25504307)
    Not to mention that the US Supreme court, this year, more or less put this to rest by ruling that second amendment is an individual right, so it more or less nullified the whole militia = group right argument. If you accept what the Supreme Court said, then the 2nd amendment is basically about the inalienable right of the people to keep and bear arms. Theres nothing in there about arms only for hunting purposes.
  • by Original Replica ( 908688 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @06:57PM (#25504535) Journal
    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 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 sortius_nod ( 1080919 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @07:04PM (#25504615) Homepage

    If they're using tunnels don't you think they're smart enough to avoid these checkpoints?

    This is exactly what was warned against in 1984 and Fahrenheit 451. It seems the US Constitution isn't worth the paper it was written on.

  • by Gordonjcp ( 186804 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @07:09PM (#25504649) Homepage

    Easy. Secure the fucking border. If that requires a fence and a minefield so be it. A secure border means it is difficult to smuggle things across it.

    Cool. Then when I want to smuggle drugs from Mexico into the US I'll just set up a couple of miles back and fire them over with a mortar.

    Of course smuggling refugees across the border is more difficult, but I'm sure we can get them into Mexico somehow.

  • by dontmakemethink ( 1186169 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @07:28PM (#25504843)
    Why is it that the unborn are deprived of life without due process?

    First ask yourself this - would you under any circumstances tie a woman down and impregnate her with a turkey baster? No? Ok, read on.

    The courts have been very clear on abortion. If the fetus cannot survive on its own then it is not considered to be a person and has no constitutional rights. If the mother does not wish to continue providing life support for the fetus, preventing her from aborting the pregnancy is no different than forcing her to become pregnant against her will.

    Pro-life arguments are also pro-slavery. Protecting the dependent unborn makes as much sense as protecting the undead.

  • by Repossessed ( 1117929 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @07:43PM (#25504969)

    The actual simplest way would be a good solid fence, but there are people who hate that idea with a passion bordering on insanity for some reason (such as, they don't actually WANT the law enforced).

    I like having food in the fridge, illegal immigrants were critical to growing and harvesting that food. So no, I *don't* want the law enforced.

  • Re:Apples and Nukes (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DG ( 989 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @07:53PM (#25505063) Homepage Journal

    And what you (and many others; you're in good company) keep overlooking is that A COUNTRY FACING ARMED INSURRECTION FROM ITS OWN PEOPLE CANNOT QUIT AND GO HOME.

    That is doubly true when the insurgents don't have widespread popular support, and when there are pervasive and effective security forces (police and military) operating throughout the state.

    The Cuba example fails that test, as the Cuban security forces were niether pervasive nor effective, and where the rebels had popular support.

    Faced with the succession of the South, the US chose to go to war with its own people. Not only did it do so, it WON - in the face of the worst casulties ever faced by the American people. THAT is the model here, not foreign occupiers of remote countries, nor tiny countries with little security infrastructure or government.


  • Re:Apples and Nukes (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Python ( 1141 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @11:12PM (#25506465)
    Young? I think I'm probably older than you are. 21 years in the Army, and still going, thanks.

    LOL! Only 21 years! You are a young man! ;-)

    Its 22 years for me - I went though Harmony Church in 1986 as an 11B back when we still had OG-107s, wore steel pots and damn it we held on to them all until 89 when they forced us to put on BDUs and those damn heavy kevlar helments that you couldn't shave out of. So if you want me to retract "young man" consider it retracted old man, but my knees still work and the only old man I know is my father. In my unit everyone is a "Young Man" - we have no Old Men and no one is called the "Old Man". Old Men retire - Young Men fight.

    So back to the issue at hand, I think you're missing my point. The idea of assymetry in ANY form, even a civil war, is literal. If the other side is that out classed they can only use assymetric means to fight. And yes, it DOES work. Successfully winning any war is about making things harder for the superior force to the point that they either can not continue to fight or they don't want to. Destroy their lines of communication, tear down their bridges, destroy their logistics trains, strike fear into the heart of the enemy and make them question WHY they gight. If you can't go toe to toe with them you use other means to break their will to fight. Heres a simple example: snipers have been and still are highly effective at reducing combat effectiveness against a superior (or even inferior) force, instilling fear and sometimes turning the tide of battle - and all you need is a good rifle.

    In civil wars the superior force has been known to throw in the towel - even on its own territory. So yes, this works in civil wars too. You could have the county split. For example: the American Revolutionary war which was, in fact, a Civil war was British on British warfare with the dominant force eventually giving up the territory it no longer wanted to hold.

    Perhaps whats getting between us in the assumotion that a civil war has to be an all or nothing conflict. A 2nd American Civil War might end up with an impasse and a divided nation - but this is all much much harder if the population has no arms to fight with. You may also be assuming that an insurrection has to be nationwide. There are historical examples of local insurrections to overthrow cities, counties, states, principalities but not the national government. The fact is that insurgencies sometimes succeed without the benefit of a superior force or technology, they simply have the minimum means necessary to break the will of the opponent. Just ask yourself one question: Would it be easier if the current insurgents were all disarmed?

    So here are just a few examples of civil wars where the government did give up:

    North Vietnam defeating South Vietnam

    Cambodian Civil War

    Russian Civil War

    Finish Civil War of 1918

    Greek Civil War of the late 1940s

    Rwandan Civil War

    Salvadorian Civil War

    Sandanistas overthrow of Somoza regime in the late 70s

    Fatah Hamas Civil war over Gaza (where as you recall, Fatah had no choice but to quit the field of battle causing a split into two territories and two governments)

    Bangladesh Liberation War - where Pakistan lost East Pakistan forever due to Civil War

    The Taliban in Afghanistan - you assume that a civil war can't involve outside parties? Whats to say an uprising in the US wouldn't be backed by someone else? It was before.

    Guatemalan Civil War - that was literally the government against the people

    Bosnian civil war - which lead to the creation of a new country out of the former Yugoslavia

    And sometimes winning a civil war means both sides get some of what they want - but the key is that the superior force is willing to come to the table - they yield. Look at the Albian insurgency against the Macedonians. It was a civil war, and both sides brought it to an end with both sides offering something to the other. You could argue that's what's going on in Iraq right now - but this would not have happened with access to small arms.

    Anyway, I hope this is food for thought. Best of luck to you on your tour.

  • Re:Apples and Nukes (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Python ( 1141 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @11:28PM (#25506559)
    Dennis what army are you with? Your website says you race cars and live in Canada: []
  • Re:Apples and Nukes (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Python ( 1141 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @11:35PM (#25506599)
    And what you (and many others; you're in good company) keep overlooking is that A COUNTRY FACING ARMED INSURRECTION FROM ITS OWN PEOPLE CANNOT QUIT AND GO HOME.

    And what you are missing is that yes they can - its called surrender or defeat. It happens a lot in history - go read the examples I and others have cited. You assume, incorrectly, that because an army can not leave the field that it will not YIELD the field. You are wrong. And sometimes a government can leave its own country, thus happens often as well.

  • by NeutronCowboy ( 896098 ) on Saturday October 25, 2008 @02:34AM (#25507541)

    Even scarier - we only implement in so far as it appears to benefit certain segments of the voting/donating population.

Solutions are obvious if one only has the optical power to observe them over the horizon. -- K.A. Arsdall