According to several media reports (here and here) at least 10 DACA beneficiaries were detained at a CBP checkpoint near Falfurrias, Texas. The detention likely violates their rights since the program is still in effect.
According to a CBP agent quoted here, “USBP agents encountered nine individuals at the immigration checkpoint in Falfurrias, Texas. The individuals claimed to be enrolled in DACA. Agents validated their claims by reviewing and verifying their documents. The individuals were then released to proceed with their journey, consistent with established policies and procedures.”
However, that verification took hours and caused extreme anxiety to the people affected.
Attorney Elba Rochas said there were as many as six DACA recipients being held at the Falfurrias checkpoint after they were detained on their way to Corpus Christi. She received a phone call from a family member of one of the DACA recipients at 10:30 a.m. This person, who has no criminal history, had been detained since 8:30 a.m.
The attorney and family members of the detained contacted U.S. Representative Vicente Gonzales and other elected officials seeking help.
These troublesome developments underscore the dangers of crossing checkpoints, which we have explained previously on Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund. Checkpoints are sort of a legal twilight zone where the normal constitutional due process may be placed on hold. Legal requirements such as probable cause are not needed to effect a stop and search of people and/or vehicles by agents. Just being in the vicinity can justify questions, searches, and even detainment.
All people, including citizens, can be questioned about their legal status and required to subject themselves to a search of their person and possessions.
Immigrants especially should stay away from border areas. If you need to get close to the border and/or cross a checkpoint, make sure you carry identification and DACA documents if you are a beneficiary of the program. Have the cell phone number of your attorney handy. Avoid putting yourself in compromising situations by consuming alcohol, drinking and driving, using drugs, possessing drug paraphernalia, and carrying weapons including knives.
People who are undocumented with no valid DACA or TPS should completely avoid checkpoints.