Border Agents Are Unfairly Pulling Over And Searching Canadian Tourists Driving In The U.S.
In case you haven't been paying attention, tensions are quickly escalating along the U.S.–Canada border. First news broke that Canadians who have smoked marijuana will be denied entry to the United States and today information spread about U.S. border agents' ability to seize Canadians' cellphones without a warrant.
And now it appears Canadians aren't even safe after they cross the border. The New York Times and Boston Globe have reported that U.S. border agents have established checkpoints throughout New England, the region just south of Quebec and a popular destination for Canadian tourists.
The tactic is part of a scheme not only to catch people who have entered the country illegally, but to track all non-American citizens. Such checkpoints have been common in the last twenty years. But under the Trump administration patrol stops have become more frequent, intensive, and invasive.
Agents invariably ask drivers and passengers about their citizenship. Motorists must answer in order to pass. Searches are also common. The possession of drug paraphernalia will lead to arrest. That's especially troubling to residents of Canada, which just legalized marijuana.
Many have questioned the legality of such checkpoints, which extend seemingly beyond the jurisdiction of the border control agency. In fact, U.S. border agents have power to operate within 100 miles (160 km) of ports, including borders and the seaside. With Canada to the north and the Atlantic Ocean to the east and south, the region of New England falls almost entirely within that zone.
According to testimonies from parties that have stopped, border agents cite accents as reason to search cars. Francophone residents of Quebec especially are sure to become targets.