A San Diego teacher was detained for over an hour at a New Mexico immigration checkpoint because she refused to answer a Border Patrol officer’s question on July 21.
The teacher, Shane Parmely, was driving home with her children, who she asked to record her conversation with the Border Patrol officers. Parmely wanted to see for herself what happens when you get detained at Immigration. She later posted the video to Facebook.
“Citizens?” an officer asks Parmely as her car approaches the checkpoint in the video.
“Are we crossing a border?” Parmely asks back.
“No,” said the officer. Then he asks again, “Are you United States citizens?”
“I’ve never been asked if I’m a citizen before when I’m traveling down the road,” Parmely says.
The officer continues to repeat the question to Parmely, who replies that he can keep asking her, but she doesn’t plan to answer.
“You are required to answer an immigration question,” the agent says. “You are not required to answer any other questions.”
When Parmely refused to answer, the agent then told her that she was being detained for an immigration inspection.
“I’m detained … on what grounds?” asked Parmely.
“It’s the immigration checkpoint ma’am,” said the officer, showing Parmely a card outlining his authority to detain according to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The immigration checkpoint is within the 100-mile range U.S. border in which border patrol officers have extra-constitutional powers to carry out border enforcement.
Parmely got both praise and criticism for her actions. Some agree with her view that these checkpoints violate the constitutional rights of Americans. Others thought she was being disrespectful to the officers who are just doing their jobs.
When asked why she would stop for so long with her kids in the car, Parmely said “Generally for me, with my children in the car, it’s to fight back against oppression and bigotry.”
Border Patrol spokesman, Mark Endicott, said it is agency policy to treat all people with dignity and respect, as reported by the San Diego Union-Tribute.
“Border Patrol checkpoints are a critical tool for the enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws. At a Border Patrol checkpoint, an agent may question a vehicle’s occupants about their citizenship, place of birth, and request document proof of immigration status, how legal status was obtained and make quick observations of what is in plain view in the interior of the vehicle.”
Border Patrol have had the authority to question anyone passing immigration checkpoints since a US Supreme Court ruling in 1976.
On July 23, officers confiscated $5.6 million of methamphetamine from a vehicle passing through a Border Patrol Checkpoint on Interstate Highway 35, Texas.