December 20, 2008
In a story in The Seattle Times, Chief John Bates of the Border Patrol indicated the policy regarding checkpoints will not change [“Border Patrol expansion is causing conflict in Washington,” News, Dec. 14]. He stated he wants to keep the lines of communication with the community open. He also believes once residents get used to the Border Patrol’s checkpoints, we will feel they are just fine.
The Border Patrol belongs at the border. There, they can search and detain any individual with probable cause. The checkpoint policy, which stops thousands of individuals on a fishing expedition with no specific target, is a violation of the Fourth Amendment. It devalues the American sense of personal freedom so many of our troops have fought to protect.
If an individual is suspected of wrongdoing, the Border Patrol has all the assistance it needs to pursue and capture the individual. The checkpoints do not make us safer, but they do alter the nature of this country we love.