Las Cruces, N.M.— On Wednesday, March 19th at 12pm, the ACLU of New Mexico Regional Center for Border Rights, along with community members and volunteers from Southern New Mexico, will form a “Know Your Rights Checkpoint” to ensure travelers know their constitutional rights while passing through Border Patrol interior checkpoints. Participants will gather in the rest area just north of the Border Patrol checkpoint located on I-25 between Las Cruces, and Truth or Consequences, NM, and invite motorists to pull over to learn about their rights or to report any abuse experienced at checkpoints.
Normally, the Constitution protects people from arbitrary stops and searches. In the border region, however, Border Patrol conducts arbitrary stops and searches up to 100 miles from the border, including at checkpoints that disrupt everyday commutes to school and work.
“This is not a country where innocent people are supposed to have to answer to federal agents, but that’s increasingly what we’re becoming,” explains Brian Erickson, policy advocate for the ACLU-NM Regional Center for Border Rights. “If we can’t assert our rights and have those respected by federal agents and the federal government, it’s not a lot different than not having rights.”
“Motorists in border communities report being stopped for unnecessary questioning, subjected to unwarranted searches, and racially profiled,” adds Alyssa Telander, outreach coordinator for the ACLU-NM Regional Center for Border Rights. “We want to know the current extent of these practices in New Mexico.”
The “Know Your Rights Checkpoint” is part of the Revitalize Not Militarize “Raise Your Voice” campaign, which aims to document how border militarization affects quality of life by asking community members to report if they feel they have experienced racial profiling or civil and human rights violations by local police or federal immigration officials, including when they drive through Border Patrol checkpoints.