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Police state tactics

2010-08-30 18:46:00.659226+00 by Dan Lyke 7 comments

"Papieren bitte!" New York Times reports that border patrol agents are asking for proof of citizenship on Amtrak along the Canadian border.

The patrol says that answering agents’ questions is voluntary, part of a “consensual and nonintrusive conversation” Some passengers agree, though they are not told that they can keep silent.

Because when uniformed armed people start asking me questions, my first thought is always "hey, I have the right to keep silent".

[ related topics: Trains New York Public Transportation ]

comments in descending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2010-08-31 16:35:18.379226+00 by: m

The border patrol has extended its internal boundaries to 100 miles. This area includes the homes of about two-thirds of the US population. This is now a Constitution free zone that "allows" Homeland Security Agents to detain, search and seize without probable cause.

#Comment Re: made: 2010-08-31 11:34:59.427226+00 by: meuon


Jeff is right, the USA is -large- and has much fewer entry points and methods (not including just walking across the border) than the average European country. Historically we have not needed to carry identification papers, thus it is a change from "status quo". Even so, when I travel in the USA, I carry my passport for ID. My real reason is in case I need to go somewhere else, but it's a useful ID in airports and other places as well, even when just travelling inside the USA.


Besides, only a few airports actually have the scanners to properly read the invisible barcode implanted on my forehead during what I was impressed into remembering as an alien abduction dream.


And while being humorous above, my cell phone and credit/debit card data probably works better for locating me. The truth of the matter is that our security and surveillance is poor enough that random checks by DHS and Border Patrol catch so many. Or is it that they seem random?


#Comment Re: made: 2010-08-31 11:04:49.847226+00 by: jeff

Traveling by rail in densely packed Europe potentially spanning many countries offers a few different dynamics from crossing from Canada into the U.S.

#Comment Re: made: 2010-08-31 02:11:06.075226+00 by: Dan Lyke

I guess they didn't learn all that much from either their proximity to the Soviet Union or that little kerfluffle six or seven decades ago.

#Comment Re: made: 2010-08-30 21:58:44.819226+00 by: ebradway

I got in a little trouble recently debating a similar thing with Sean Leather and some of his Euro-friends. Evidently, most all European countries require everyone to carry their documents at all times and can be required to show those documents at any time. The US is very unique in that we generally don't require documents. For the most part, Europeans don't think there is any issue with having to produce documents and see it as an effective way to handle illegal immigration.

But it does seem odd that the border patrol cites terrorism as the reason...

#Comment Re: made: 2010-08-30 20:42:02.527226+00 by: meuon

The cliche line of "papers please" used to have a German accent circa WWII era ala Schindlers List and Hogans Heroes. "We" have become the enemy.

#Comment Re: made: 2010-08-30 19:14:46.863226+00 by: ebradway

“Our mission is to defend the homeland, primarily against terrorists and terrorist weapons,” said Thomas Pocorobba Jr., the agent in charge of the Rochester station.

This guy needs to take a hard look in the mirror. Sounds like the terrorists are wearing border patrol uniforms.