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IPFS News Link • Property Rights

Warrantless Searches Near the Border

•, by Jacob G. Hornberger

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

Notwithstanding that express protection that our ancestors enacted for us in the Bill of Rights, for decades people who own ranches or farms on or near the U.S.-Mexico border have had to suffer the ignominy of Border Patrol agents trespassing onto their property at will without a search warrant.

What's the justification for this clear violation of the Fourth Amendment? You guessed it — America's system of immigration controls. U.S. officials have long maintained that it's necessary to have this dictatorial power in order to prevent people from illegally entering the United States.

Question: How has that violation of our rights worked out for you proponents of immigration controls in terms of achieving your decades-long goal of sealing the border? My hunch is not too well, given your ever-growing lament against all those illegal migrants circumventing your controls and your violation of our rights.

This is just one example of how proponents of immigration controls have succeeded in destroying liberty and privacy in America. Other examples, of course, include highway checkpoints that subject people to documents demands and searches of vehicles, a Berlin Wall built with the stealing power of eminent domain, concertina wire designed to cut people up, the criminalization of hiring, transporting, harboring, and caring for illegal immigrants, and forcing Americans to divulge their passwords for searches of cell phones and lap tops.

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