The Star-Herald

Border patrol agents question drivers at I-95 checkpoint about citizenship

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents set up a checkpoint Wednesday on Interstate 95, stopping drivers and asking them questions about their citizenship before letting them proceed.

The random checkpoint shut down the southbound lane between the Penobscot County towns of Howland and Lincoln. Several agents set up cones blocking the highway, and then asked vehicle occupants questions about their citizenship. Southbound drivers could not avoid the roadblock.

“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 said Wednesday evening. When questioned about what would happen if a driver declined to answer, he said the car would only be able to keep going if, after further questioning and upon the agent’s judgment, “the agent is pretty sure that you’re U.S. citizens.”

These routine checkpoints are similar to immigration checks that border agents are performing at Maine bus stops, where agents have been captured on video asking riders about their citizenship, said Stephanie Malin, a CBP spokeswoman.

In recent months, the bus stop checks have come under fire from the Maine American Civil Liberties Union, which is suing the federal agency for records to learn more about the practice. Lawyers for the Maine ACLU said they have questions concerning “the intrusive operation,” and whether it infringes on the Fourth and Fifth amendment rights of bus passengers.

To read the rest of “Border patrol agents question drivers at I-95 checkpoint about citizenship,” an article by contributing Bangor Daily News staff writer Callie Ferguson, please follow this link to the BDN online.

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