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Courts and Crime

Lawsuit Challenging Constitutionality Of Border Patrol Checkpoints Allowed To Proceed

Immigration Northern Border
Charles Krupa
/
AP file
In this Wednesday, July 11, 2018 photo, two children, visiting the Haskell Library with their grandmother from Venezuela, play on the border pillar, as they circle back and forth between the United States and Canada under the watchful eye of a U.S. Border Patrol agent, seated in a vehicle, in Derby Line, Vt.

A federal district court will allow a case challenging immigration checkpoints by Customs and Border Protection to proceed.

Last August, ACLU affiliates in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont challenged the legality of a border patrol checkpoint in the town of Woodstock, New Hampshire — about 90 miles from the Canadian border. In a decision on Thursday, a federal judge dismissed the complaint against one federal officer, but agreed to allow the case to proceed against the agency.

ACLU of Maine Legal Director Emma Bond says that the checkpoints across New England, which can be dozens of miles from the border, are unconstitutional and beyond the agency's authority.

"So allowing the case to proceed is critical to the overall goal of stopping the CBP's unconstitutional practices, and their checkpoints in New England," she says.

Bond says her group is aware of other checkpoints in Maine, including one along I-95 in Penobscot County in 2018.

Bond says the agency is stopping people without suspicion of legal activity.

"This is a violation of constitutional rights. It's a violation of privacy. And, on a more general level, these checkpoints offend basic notions of what it means to live in a free society," she says.

In an email, a CBP spokesperson said that the agency "does not a comment on pending litigation" as a matter of policy.