U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont introduced legislation last week that would put limits on where Border Patrol officers can operate immigration checkpoints. The “Border Zone Reasonableness Restoration Act of 2018” is co-sponsored by Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.).
Currently, Customs and Border Protection can stop vehicles within 100 miles of the border, which Leahy and others have pointed out includes many of the nation’s largest population centers. This new law would cut the border zone to 25 miles.
The current rules are what make recent checkpoints on Interstate 93 in Woodstock possible, some 90 miles away from the the Canadian border.
Patrick Eddington is a Policy Analyst with the Libertarian think tank the CATO Institute, which along with the ACLU, has been critical of CBP immigration enforcement practices. He said he'd prefer the border zone limited to just one mile.
"The more CBP goes out into American communities and engages in this kind of conduct, the more resistance you're going to see and the more likely you're going to see some kind of move to rein in this thing," Eddington said.
In a previously issued statement, CBP says immigration checkpoints are a critical tool for the enforcement of the nation's immigration laws.
“The Trump administration’s aggressive yet wasteful use of immigration enforcement resources has subjected law-abiding citizens to needless and intrusive searches at Customs and Border Protection (CBP) checkpoints far from the border,” Leahy said in a statement.
So far this summer, checkpoints on I-93 have led to the arrest of 22 individuals who "did not have legal immigration status."