Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Border Agents Don't Check IDs

The Government Accounting Office has done another undercover investigation into crossing the border with fake IDs.

The GAO probe follows a similar inquiry in 2003 and 2004 when undercover investigators crossed unhindered into the United States at least 14 times using counterfeit drivers' licenses and, in one case, an expired, altered U.S. diplomatic passport. During that investigation, however, border agents in New York and Florida stopped three undercover officials who were using expired and forged passports, drivers' licenses or birth certificates.

By comparison, between February and June 2006, 18 GAO investigators breezed by border agents at checkpoints in California, Texas, Michigan, Idaho, Washington state, and twice each in Arizona and New York. In two cases - in Arizona and California - border agents did not ask the undercover investigators for any identification.

So we're spending more and more money on Homeland Security, and getting less and less. The longer lines at the borders and at the airports and at the bus stations and at the Superbowl are all for show, folks. They're just slowing you down and looking you over to see what color your skin is, and what your accent sounds like. Even if the deadline for making all people entering the U.S. show passports isn't delayed, they'll still be barely glancing at the documents. My lovely wife and I went to Canada about a year ago, and found that our documents were almost not needed on our few return trips.

About fifteen years ago, I traveled through much of central Europe. Since my ancestors were largely Scandinavian, if I kept my mouth shut, I appeared to fit in. I was actually on a train once that was entering Germany from a non-EU country (I think Switzerland), and border inspectors entered the car. They asked the men sitting near me for their passports, but not me. This is because the men sitting near me were of Algerian ancestry, tho they had been born in Germany, and spoke German as a first language. However, they were still not considered Germans by law.

I, the true foreigner, received scant attention from the border patrol.

Bringing it back to the AP article, I have to wonder what the appearances and accents of the undercover GAO agents were. If a border agent sees a person who is a Caucasian male or female, or even an African-American male or female, and who speaks with an obviously American accent, they surely won't be spending much time trying to find out if that person's documents are forgeries. Even if it's legally prohibited, racial or ethnic profiling still must be a big part of any border agent's decision about whom to scrutinize more closely.

As a libertarian, I've long expressed my opinion in favor of greatly liberalizing the immigration process, and making crossing the border much easier. I had no idea both of these had already been implemented.



Linking to: historymike, Rightlinx, Don Surber, Right Wing Nation

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