Historic Border Patrol Badge Artifact

Being Detained, Part 1

Border Patrol Agents can operate anywhere within the United States — including Hawaii and Alaska and even Puerto Rico (in their vernacular it’s the Ramey Sector). You might not normally see Border Patrol Agents in Kansas but that sure doesn’t mean they aren’t there; they are.

If a Border Patrol Agent stops you, your actions and reactions to the Agent’s questions can and will determine how long and how involved the interview will be.

The Agent will stop you because he has “reasonable suspicion” that you-the-pedestrian or you-the-occupant-of-a-vehicle is an illegal alien or is involved in “criminal activity.” The Border Patrol Agent must notice that you are different from “innocent persons engaged in similar but legal behavior.”

But to the Agent, his “reasonable suspicion” is the “;sole authority” for your “detention.” To the Agent, “reasonable suspicion” may be engendered by:

Suspicious behavior

Unusual reaction to uniformed officers

Nervous demeanor

Corroborated tips

Citizen calls

The Agent’s experience regarding the time and place and traffic and area in which the suspicious activity has been observed.

Electronic detection of your presence (yes, they have thousands of sensors along the border).

Physical evidence linking the subject to illegal border crossing (bits of your shirt hanging on the border fence will do).

When a Border Patrol Agent has “reasonable suspicion” that you are an illegal alien or that you were or are engaged in “criminal activity” then he can “stop” you. This “detention” can last for a reasonable time while the Border Patrol Agent conducts a lawful “investigative activity” to quickly confirm or dispel their suspicion.

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