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Two Out of Three Americans Living in Constitution-Free Zone

Welcome to the border — where anyone can be stopped and searched. It used to be just the point of entry along Canada and Mexico, but Homeland Security has taken an increasingly loose — or wide — interpretation of it. Now? It's a 100-mile radius that wraps around the border of the United States.

Oh yes. It’s called the Constitution-Free Zone by the ACLU. The concern is that it erodes the rights of the Fourth Amendment — the one that protects against unreasonable searches and seizes — for two-thirds of Americans. That's 197.4 million people, and pretty much all of New England.

Authority that the Constitution would have prohibited can now be exercised by the US Customs and Border Protection. It’s been setting up inland checkpoints where it typically questions citizenship; however, people have reported extended questioning and increased pressure to permit searches.

Many are calling for congress to investigate and pass new laws to protect Americans before things go too far. Do you fear it will? Or are you glad to see a protective barrier ringing the country regardless?

Join The Conversation
true, snow. i think people get caught up in the furor and don't know why they're angry. i love it when people read what they can and come to their own conclusions.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
I feel safer, and i live in florida.
snowbunny11 snowbunny11 8 years
OKay well, we had an FBI agent come recently to my law school and he said that it made the agency 100x more efficient to have the Patriot Act because then the FBI in Buffalo could share info with the FBI the in DC office, or something like that. I didn't really follow, but he seemed to genuinely think the way they operated before the Patriot Act, at least in inter-agency communication was absolutely archane. I'm not really defending the Patriot Act, just playing devil's advocate. We can sit here and talk all day about having our liberties violated, but I think we should hold back judgment unless we are talking in specifics, and looking to see how this act really functions on a day to day level. Maybe there are some parts we should keep, and some we should get rid of.
SillyGirl SillyGirl 8 years
Just another reason to vote for a third party candidate who is more interested in protecting our civil liberties than playing the game.
Shadowdamage Shadowdamage 8 years
I was really troubled by the Patriot Act, and even more troubled by how little resistance it seemed to meet. Without any real sense of how much of a difference this "zone" is making, all I can say is: "Yet again another barrage of bullets aimed at the Constitution."
otaku otaku 8 years
this is just disgusting.
belovedpurewater belovedpurewater 8 years
I am proud to be an American and have always cited the fact that my country looks out for me. I think this is the first time in US history that the entire US has directly been threatened by its own government to such lengthy degrees. It is the fear of War - Lincoln did it with separatists, Roosevelt did it with Japanese, and now Bush is doing it with everyone! As an honest curiosity, I wonder how much we have gained from this. How many criminals or illegal activity we stopped...
tweet-hotpants tweet-hotpants 8 years
i'm with harmony on this one. i'm sure lots of "situations" have been avoided because of this extra security.
True-Song True-Song 8 years
YY, love your money! I would only need two dollars to have a good night: one for a bottle of chardonnay and one for a big hunk of gruyere.
True-Song True-Song 8 years
Whoa, my "they never stop me" comment was only meant to emphasize that they racially profile and the whole system is ridiculous. I did not at all mean that I don't care since I don't get stopped.
sldc sldc 8 years
I hope those "oh, they never stop me" comments realize how obnoxious they could sound to those who do get profiled. Ever read the "first they came for the... then they came for me and by that time there was no one left to speak up" quote.
sldc sldc 8 years
The Sarita Checkpoint in Texas has been around as long as I can remember. So let me get this right, the people in the ring are held to a different standard, just to "protect" the rest of the country? I guess they let the cheap labor through somehow. F*cking ridiculous. Our entire system is essentially a bunch of stupid self-perpetuating cogs and wheels do not even understand their effects and grossly overestimate their benefits.
organicsugr organicsugr 8 years
If you're going to create currency, I hope you use a gold standard.
yesteryear yesteryear 8 years
couldn't resist note the fact that OUR money will not only buy you an entire bottle of chardonnay... it is printed on paper laced with LSD and blessed by a feminist, lesbian rabbi!
Michelann Michelann 8 years
You don't have to take them to break the law! You can buy, sell, or just hold onto them. But fake American money is certainly a more creative way to break a federal law.
yesteryear yesteryear 8 years
nice suggestions, mich... but i stopped experimenting with drugs when was about 19 or 20. you're right though, that's one of the easier more accessible ones to break. i'm thinking i might start printing my own money. "fake america" currency!
Michelann Michelann 8 years
YY, my favorite federal law to break is the Controlled Substance Act. You're welcome to join me in that anytime. Or we could smuggle in some illegal aliens. I could use a live-in maid.
yesteryear yesteryear 8 years
i just thought about this again... i've decided that since i don't have my constitutional rights, i'm just not going to follow federal laws anymore. if they want to steal my rights, then i will just refuse to follow their laws. so yeah, i'm having a hard time deciding which law to break first. anyone got any ideas?
Jessiebanana Jessiebanana 8 years
Oh...I was being totally sarcastic about illegal immigration, sorry.
harm, i know what you mean. there's a rock and hard place situation when it comes to this. on one hand, you have all these situations that you are nipping in the bud. by doing so, you are protect john and jane doe on a daily basis. you can't say much about them because if you do, nobody will believe you anyway. on the other hand, you don't want to overstep your bounds and give the aclu business. i don't envy the people who do these things. thankless job when you do it well, and worse if you make a mistake.
wackdoodle wackdoodle 8 years
Woo hoo I always wanted to live in the WILD WILD WEST! I'm going rogue.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
IMO current search and seizure applications at point of entries such as sea ports and air ports are quite effective as they are right now. Law enforcement is also already able to hold and question any individual with reasonable cause. This new application enters shades of grey at the threshold of a (police state). I think we need to make sure that a reasonable cause is strictly enforced here and that if one is stopped and can produce evidence that they are a legal U.S. citizen and they haven't done anything wrong they should immediately be released. Search and seizure should only be reserved for those who actually did something wrong prior to questioning and not applied to a random stop and question.
dreamsugar dreamsugar 8 years
WOW -- I've never been asked about produce :shocked: (WAIT -- I remember them asking that -- but I was 10 and we were driving from state to state) -- and we don't get any special perks from my sister (unless you want a job -- the jobs are great and mostly in San Diego)
harmonyfrance harmonyfrance 8 years
Well I haven't been in the service for a while, but while I was in they were putting out fires all the time. It's a difficult balance to keep our country safe without infringing on the rights of it's citizens.
snowbunny11 snowbunny11 8 years
There was an Al Qaeda cell that got busted near where I live. I don't know how much they had to rely on the patriot act for that...
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