Notice how, over time, we have become conditioned to believe that rights are granted to us by government—a belief that was abhorrent to the Founding Fathers, who believed certain rights are innate and inviolate. When rights are granted by government, they may be easily withdrawn, and a right that may be withdrawn is no right at all.
Click on Maine, and you find that the entire state is highlighted as a “Constitution Free Zone,” meaning that we lack full constitutional rights. How can that be? The United States Border and Customs Patrol defines the border as anywhere within one hundred miles of the physical geographic border. We tested that theory in Maine, and it’s true: all of Maine falls within 100 miles of either the coast or Canada. That means Border Patrol asserts its authority to stop anyone at anytime in the State of Maine without probable cause or reasonable suspicion to check your “immigration status.”
Border Patrol has been seizing laptops and cell phones from travelers, and now, the agency has begun to make routine inquiries into American’s political and religious beliefs. Rest assured, the ACLU is on the case. The ACLU has sued to stop Border Patrol from seizing and searching laptops and other electronics without reasonable suspicion. Last week, the ACLU requested a formal investigation of this practice in a letter to Department of Homeland Security Inspector General Richard Skinner.
This week, we learned that Border Patrol also just invested in the controversial license plate scanners. The MCLU was successful in working with the legislature to pass important safeguards on the use of this technology. We will be watching Border Patrol to make sure they comply with state law. The Constitution does in fact still apply in Maine. We won’t accede to the Constitution Free Zone moniker yet.
From the Maine Civil Liberties Union.