The US Border Patrol routinely uses “transportation checks” as a means for investigating the immigration status of individuals it accidentally or purposefully encounter. The document above describes the law that arguably allows for stops anywhere within 100 miles of a US border. In Maine and other states along the Canadian border, much of the state is within 100 miles. Because of this, the US Border Patrol can set up transportation stops on highways for the purpose of conducting “consensual” checks of drivers’ and passengers’ immigration status. Also, as discussed in the attached document, the US Border Patrol can enter buses and conduct “consensual” checks of identity and immigration status. The training manual states that the US Border Patrol does NOT have to inform individuals of their right to refuse to answer questions, and most people do NOT know of this constitutional right. Individuals without immigration status are in a Catch 22. Regardless of their constitutional rights including the right to refuse to answer questions, if they do not answer questions, it is likely that the US Border Patrol will find a way to change the encounter from “consensual” to probable-cause based, and thereby will require cooperation and disclosure of identity.
If you have questions about your immigration status, about ways to possibly fix your immigration status, or about your constitutional rights in encounters with law enforcement officials, contact my office to set up a consultation with Attorney Ellen Sullivan. The initial consultation is scheduled for 55 minutes, with a charge of $200 that you may pay by cash, check or credit card.