Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Knowing Your Rights and Border Patrol Interractions

I've been writing a lot about silly things; flowers and animals, etc.
Time for something a little more serious:
Last night, I attended a community forum on Border Patrol Issues. The organizers of the event, April and Tomag did a great job of sharing information regarding the history of the border, laws that have directly impacted Tribal lands, even breaking down vocabulary that BP uses in their ongoing attempts to intimidate and incite fear in our people.

This event was advertised by email and Facebook, etc., as well as by the use of traditional flyers posted in the community, so I was expecting a younger crowd. Instead, the majority of attendees were elders!
 Yes, elders. Let that sink in.

Our elders are being harassed by the United States Border Patrol.

A rep from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) was present, as well as an (off duty) lawyer from the Nation's advocate program. Both men were "guests" and are offering resources, but the complaints, the refusal to let BP push tribal members around figuratively and now even literally (recently there were reports of BP making unnecessary physical contact with tribal members) have to come from the public.
I wanted to encourage everyone to attend the next forum, or even start your own. It isn't just "Amy and April's thing", it's something that many of us are constantly dealing with as we travel on and off the Nation. These women saw a need and did A LOT of research with the intention of sharing with the community.

It's important to know your rights.

Did you know that because we're within 100 air miles of the border, that our constitutional rights are "lightened"?  "Lightened Constitutional Rights"?  Really? If that doesn't scare you, it should. 

Did you know you have the right to photograph or film interactions with the border patrol? They may not like it, but it's your right.  Even if they tell you to stop filming, you do not have to comply. 
No, I don't think everyone should go through the border checkpoints intending to start a fight.  There is only one acceptable question that they can ask you, "Are you a United States Citizen?" everything else, you have the right to not answer.  "Where are you going?", "Where are you coming from?", "What were you doing there?", "Where were you born?" are all examples of secondary questions that are none of their business. 

If you didn't know these rights, contact April and Tomag, because they're willing to share!

We're all in this together.

WARNING: Photos that are all too familiar and may induce anger:

I think it's safe to say, if you live in Southern Arizona, you know what this is.


And if you're REALLY familiar with these guys, the sight of this agent eating an otter pop as the other one text messages, probably fills you with rage...

Here are a couple photos that I posted in 2010.  They were taken at a family event in Ku:pk.  My cousin was driving back into town when he came across a man who needed help. 

He was scared to help him, because that can be construed as trafficking (even if you are giving a dying person a ride to the hospital from a remote area that would take others a couple of hours to get there.  Cell service was bad, since we were close by a mountain.  Eventually, he got through to BP (at the request of this undocumented immigrant and was given permission to bring him back to our small village. 

We fed him and gave him water, but he was very ill. 
I blurred this photo of the man having his hands zip-tied.

Border patrol dune buggy that fits 3, plus a "body cage". One of my neices is climbing on it. Everyone cautious about moving too close to Border Patrol to pick her up.

This guy was "nice" to us, but kept trying to ask us if there were more, "You can give us a call and we'll send out another unit." We kept explaining, but he kept asking for us for more "illegals". He didn't seem to believe us that we came across just this one guy.  It was extremely frustrating.

Gun holder for really big gun.  Also notice the body-shaped basket thing they have for transporting people. They talked about putting him in it. Then changed their minds.

Grabbing his steering wheel off the roof of the buggy and smiling for the camera. "Illegal Alien" strapped into the back.


  1. So, when i was a ranger for sx district I came upon a group of about fifteen on the northern boundary of sx. I called fir b order patrol, who were about a mile away at the old sandario road mobile tower, and they said the sector boundary was sandario road. So they"couldn't"come pick them up and I had to wait almost three hours for the sector east of them. Even though they were a mile away...I have no fucking idea how the Hell that makes sense...lol...I let them go. Hey I was unarmed

  2. Shittt...they are always going treat us like we are out cast because of the color of our skin we are always going to be referred to as YOU PEOPLE. not all of them are Assholes or Racist people. but majority of them are. & about us being right by the boader shit if we get invaded we have to defend our land we will always protect our people. really why should we wait for the US Government to protect us. We Tohono O'odham Nation. This is our Land we have the right to defend it. & we should be treated with respect the government is banking off of us with the casino. taxes & fee's. Step Up and Change Shit or wait to see what will happen next to some other O'odham.... Because of who we are TOHONO O'ODHAM NATION WE ARE THE FUTURE.