The Constitution-Free Zone of the US


Chris Rickerd, Policy Counsel with the ACLU, recently wrote a depressing but important piece on US immigration policies that included the stark map above.

The Department of Homeland Security constantly refers to its “recent border crossers,” which as Rickert notes, gives the public the idea that DHS is actually apprehending would-be immigrants in the act of trying to cross.  The truth is much murkier.  In the Orwellian world that makes up the DHS, a “border removal” occurs “whenever ICE deports an individual within three years of entry – regardless of whether the initial entry was authorized – or whenever an individual is apprehended by Customs and Border Protection.”

Declaring people border crossers allows the Border Patrol to “bypass deportation hearings before a judge,” which would help to determine whether these people are legally in the US.

And in this Orwellian world, where language becomes meaningless, we should remember that “border” in Border Patrol-speak encompasses any part of the US that is “100 miles from any land or sea border, [which] includes entire states like Florida and Maine as well as almost all of the country’s top metropolitan areas.”

Here’s one of many sad examples of our immigration policies:

“After 8 years living in New Mexico, 16-year-old Sergio was picked up by Border Patrol on his way to harvest lettuce, 70 miles from the border. That morning his widowed mom, Esperanza, sent him out the door with a lunch. The next time she spoke with Sergio, he was more than a thousand miles away in Central Mexico, a country he knows little about. Sergio’s deportation hit his two younger brothers hard, especially six-year-old Israel. When he sees one of Sergio’s belongings around the house, he picks it up and asks Esperanza when she’ll bring Sergio back.”

For more on this, I’d again highly recommend Todd Miller’s Border Patrol Nation: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Homeland Security.