“Are you an American citizen?” It’s a question you’ll hear uttered from the mouths of Border Patrol officers, who have taken to stopping drivers at checkpoints along the road throughout border states like Arizona. While most people simply say, “Yes” and move on with their lives, others refuse to answer, thereby exercising their right to remain silent and documenting their non-compliance with the Border Patrol’s hunt for undocumented immigrants in a series of YouTube Videos that are going viral.
With his camera phone trained on the federal agent, one activist replies “That’s my business” when asked about his citizenship. The moment, taken from a YouTube clip that’s aggregated some of the most outraged reactions from Border Patrol agents, has now been viewed more than 600,000 times since it was posted a few weeks ago. Other activists tell agents that they refuse to answer the question, some ask if they accidentally crossed the border, while others repeatedly ask the federal agents, “Am I being detained?”
These checkpoints are considered constitutional, but technically, you can’t be detained without suspicion, and the Border Patrol officers are required to let people go, even if they choose not to answer the question. But that doesn’t mean the agents won’t get exceedingly pissed off by drivers’ non-compliance and make absurd demands–like one agent’s ask to search someone’s trunk because his car was “dirty.”
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