U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents have been setting up checkpoints along I-95 in Penobscot County, Maine, in an attempt to find and deport undocumented immigrants.
A report from Bangor News correspondent Alex Acquisto reveals that “agents set up a checkpoint Wednesday on Interstate 95, stopping drivers and asking them questions about their citizenship before letting them proceed.”
The checkpoint was set up between the towns of Howland and Lincoln with several agents blocking traffic along the southbound lane.
“If you want to continue down the road, then yes ma’am. We need to know what citizen — what country you’re a citizen of,” an agent told two BDN reporters who traveled through the checkpoint.
An Ongoing Practice In Main
Bangor News says checkpoints like the one their reporters experienced have been ongoing for years. Checkpoints, bus stop checks, and other intrusive acts have been a regular practice for Border Patrol agents in the area.
The Maine American Civil Liberties Union is currently engaged in a lawsuit with the federal agency over what they view as illegal search and seizure practices and general harassment.
Under a current Federal law, agents are allowed to set up checkpoints within 100 miles of any U.S. border. The current checkpoints are located about 90 miles from the Canadian border, according to Boston.com
Border Patrol spokesperson Stephanie Malin acknowledged the practice to BDN and said the checkpoints are not announced because they are “law enforcement sensitive.” The agency operates the checkpoint under the guise they are needed to stop “transnational smuggling operations.”
Caught On Video
Congressional candidate Justin O’Donnell decided to test the checkpoint and captured his interaction with Border Patrol agents during a Facebook Live broadcast.
In the video, O’Donnell refuses to answer any questions asked by a Border Patrol agent. He then claims that they are “nowhere near” the Canadian border.
“I don’t know if you’re a citizen,” the agent tells O’Donnell. “I don’t know if you’re a terrorist.”
The Maine Civil Liberties Union has learned that several more of these intrusive Border Patrol checkpoints are scheduled for later in the year.
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James Kosur is the former Editor-In-Chief and co-founder of Hill Reporter. He recently served as an editor for Business Insider and various other publications. James and his partners sold Hill Reporter to a new owner in July 2019.