Homeland Security Relies On Secrecy To Violate People's Rights And Humiliate Them At The Border
from the disappointing dept
Back in September, we wrote about the horrific and depressing story from On the Media about how one of its producers, Sarah Abdurrahman (a US citizen) along with her family and friends (all US citizens) were detained at the Canadian US border. The story involved all of them being detained under horrible conditions, with no one explaining anything to them. Their electronic devices were taken and searched. Some of them were physically searched multiple times. Perhaps the most horrific was that one guy was detained for longer while his family was told they could leave. When the guy’s wife asked where her husband was, she was told that “an agency” was coming to “pick him up,” implying that it was some sort of federal agency. It turned out that the guy had an unpaid ticket from seven years ago for a crooked license plate, and the Michigan State Police were called.
This past week, OTM spent its entire show looking at Homeland Security’s secrecy at the border, kicking it off with replaying the original story by Abdurrahman. When I realized they were doing a full hour on the issue, I immediately figured that it would finally include some sort of explanation or some sort of response from DHS. But here’s the depressing thing: months have gone by and DHS seems to simply be reveling in the fact that what it does at the border can be a black box, and it doesn’t think it needs to answer to anyone. All of the attempts to find out about DHS’s policies and how and why it treats people (especially American citizens) this way have resulted in dead ends. Even the few attempts by Congress to find out what’s happening have gone nowhere.
The episode is actually quite depressing, because it appears that DHS has learned that as long as it keeps its collective mouths shut and with what appears to be no oversight, no one can find out about its policies or activities, and that allows it to act with impunity, to attack and humiliate people, to violate their rights, to leave people with lasting mental scars, often requiring therapy, and to never have to answer for any of it. As Trevor Timm, at the Freedom of the Press Foundation, notes, the number of stories of DHS using this process to intimidate American journalists is positively scary — but at least journalists have an outlet for speaking out about it. An unknown number of others face equal or possibly worth treatment and there’s absolutely no recourse at all.
Yes, some will say, that there are people out there who seek to attack the US. And, as such, Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officers have a big responsibility. But abusing that authority to create such a horrific results at the border clearly does more harm than good. On The Media is still asking people to use their “Shed Light on DHS tool” to demand Congress do something about this, and we highly encourage you to make use of it. It makes it easy to call your representative and raise these issues with them. If enough people call, perhaps Congress will finally stop abdicating its responsibility and start looking into DHS’ abusive practices at the border. To make it even easier, we’ll embed the tool below. Go test it out.
Filed Under: border patrol, cbp, customs, dhs, search
Comments on “Homeland Security Relies On Secrecy To Violate People's Rights And Humiliate Them At The Border”
Why would anyone even bother attacking us? Our own government’s doing it so they won’t have to.
Doesn’t the government’s terrorizing of the citizens fulfill a useful and legitimate government interest?
It helps to desensitize people to the horrors in the event that terrorists were to take over and create a police state.
I believe that is a cost savings effort brought to you by your fiscally responsible government. After all, we’ve shown quite dramatically that it is way cheaper to be the terrorist than fight terrorism.
….this is all so simple, I don’t understand why you all don’t applaud them for this.
cant help wondering when people will start trying to cross the borders to get away from america haha
Been thinking about it. The legal way though.
You mean it hasn’t already happened?
And this was back in 2011. Imagine what it’s like a few years later.
My five year plan has is being reworked for 2 years.
“but at least journalists have an outlet for speaking out about it.
An unknown number of others face equal or possibly worth treatment and there’s absolutely no recourse at all.”
The unknown number of others do have an outlet – called JOURNALISTS.
Except that few journalists have any inclination to discuss US Gov atrocities, at least until it happens to them.
This is a policy that must inevitably create more enemies than it prevents. Actually, that could be said for pretty much all American policy.
Re: US Foreign Policy Stament
From: President Obama
To: the World (Open Letter)
“You Mad Bro?”
If enough people call, perhaps Congress will finally stop abdicating its responsibility and start looking into DHS’ abusive practices at the border.
That, or they’ll call out your “illegal” behaviour for making it easier for the minio… Subdugat… People to contact their elected officials.
what about foreigners...
What about foreigners? Even less recourse.
I’m never setting foot in usa. Too scared. I don’t want my electronic devices searched, nor any of my cavities.
Work wants me to go, but I refuse. No problem going to other countries. But usa is terrifying.
Do americans even realize how we outsiders view them? Land of the free..? LOL.
No, that place is crazy, you have no rights when you enter that country. Police state. Gestapo. Americans should read about nazi germany, view some historical documents and realize what they have become.
Re: what about foreigners...
“Do americans even realize how we outsiders view them?”
Yes. And many of us share the view.
Re: what about foreigners...
I’ve also decided I wont set my foot in the USA.
The treatment of visitors to the US at the border is a message from the US government that we, the non US population, is not welcome to visit the US “homeland”. We should stay the hell away. To which I say fine, I’ll go somewhere else.