Border Patrol conducts Interstate 95 checkpoint

BENEDICTA, Maine — The United States Border Patrol was conducting a routine “checkpoint near the Benedicta exit of Interstate 95 Monday afternoon.

According to Mark Phillips, public affairs liaison for the Houlton Sector, the stop was part of the Border Patrol’s ongoing efforts to search for illegal activities. In addition to agents, trained dogs were also part of the stop on the northbound section of the interstate.

Throughout the nation, U.S. Border Patrol agents routinely engage in enforcement operations, including immigration checkpoints, Phillips stated in a press release. Enforcement actions away from the border are within the jurisdiction of U.S. Border Patrol and performed as a means of preventing smuggling organizations from exploiting unmonitored roads and highways to travel to the interior of the United States. These operations are a vital tool for the U.S. Border Patrol’s national security efforts.

He stated that Section 287(a)(3) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, codified at 8 USC 1357, states that immigration authorities have the authority without a warrant: within a reasonable distance from any external boundary of the United States, to board and search for aliens in any vehicle. In 1976, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed U.S. Border Patrol’s authority to lawfully stop vehicles, without suspicion, at checkpoints away from the border to determine the citizenship of its occupants, finding that such checkpoints are consistent with the Fourth Amendment (United States v. Martinez-Fuerte, 428 U.S. 543, 1976; and United States v. Rubio Rivero, 917 F.2nd 1271, 1990).

The United States Border Patrol carefully selects checkpoint locations along routes of egress from the immediate border area to maximize border enforcement while minimizing effects on the travelling public. At the checkpoint, Border Patrol agents ask questions and use their training and experience to quickly determine a traveler’s citizenship or immigration status, Phillips said.

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