“Constitution Free Zone” Questions Border Patrol Security & Search and Seizure Laws

On a previous program we asked the question: “Does our Constitution really matter?” When considering “Constitutional Free Zones” we have to ask if this is an example of where the lines regarding our constitutional rights are eroding.

The “Constitution Free Zone,” is the area within “100-miles of the US land and coastal borders.” Airports are also in these zones, regardless of their geographic location. According to 2007 figures from the US Census Bureau, 197.4 million people, 2/3 of the United States population, including the entire state of Florida, live within “Constitution Free Zones.”

The Department of Homeland Security has the authority to stop, search and detain anyone, for any reason within a “Constitution Free Zone,” resident or traveler.

The Controversy Over the “Constitution Free Zone”

In theory, having a 100-mile radius within which to apprehend criminals, international drug lords, terrorists and others with ill intentions may not be a bad idea. However, problems frequently occur. Numerous case studies show that American citizens have been harassed and that the FBI has used Homeland Security to bypass normal search & seizure guidelines as outlined in the Constitution’s 4th Amendment, “The Fourth Amendment guarantees the right of Americans to be ‘secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects’ from unreasonable and unwarranted government intrusion.”

Search & Seizure by TSA

The Washington Times recently reported an incident that happened at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston:

“FBI agents had identified an individual suspected of downloading child pornography on an Internet chat room. The suspect’s passport was flagged and FBI agents asked officials at the Department of Homeland Security to seize and search the individual’s computer at the airport. Three incriminating images were found during the examination, conducted without a warrant.”

The newspaper did not countenance child pornography- but did question the individual’s being searched without a warrant and asked if this constituted abuse of the Fourth Amendment.

Search & Seizure

When Homeland Security officers check on a person, within their boundaries on United States soil, they can ask travelers for papers, detain them, question them, bring in drug dogs to search vehicles, etc. They are not required to have probable cause. The question to ask is: does this loophole create/ or should it create concern for Americans regarding their Constitutional rights?

“Border patrol officials say that checkpoints are anything but unconstitutional. ‘The 100-mile zone absolutely is not a Constitution-free zone,’ said Jason Ciliberti, a supervisory border patrol agent with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. ‘Those 100 miles are what essentially is said to be a reasonable distance from the boundary from the United States, and the Supreme Court has come down firmly on our side and said that what we’re doing is not unreasonable.’”

According to a Wired Magazine article, “The government has long had the power to set up such check points, but has recently expanded the number of permanent and ‘tactical’ check points and deployed them in areas they hadn’t before — such as near the Canadian border.”

Effects of Skipping Due Process – Operation Ore

Operation Ore is an excellent example of why a constitution free zone where standard procedures aren’t followed and due process lines become blurred has caused some to be cautious.

“Operation Ore was a British police operation that commenced in 1999 following information received from US law enforcement, which was intended to prosecute thousands of users of a website reportedly featuring child pornography. In the United Kingdom, it led to 7,250 suspects identified, 4,283 homes searched, 3,744 arrests, 1,848 charged, 1,451 convictions, 493 cautioned and 140 children removed from suspected dangerous situations and an estimated 39 suicides. While Operation Ore did identify and prosecute a number of sex offenders, the validity of the police procedures was later questioned, as errors in the investigations apparently resulted in a number of false arrests.”

They later realized that there was a serious error in the data that had been collected. The “UK police received no information on the scale of the credit card fraud which had occurred within the Landslide business. Many of the charges at the Landslide affiliated sites were made using stolen credit card information, and the police arrested the real owners of the credit cards, not the actual viewers. Plus, thousands of credit card charges were made where there was no access to a site, or access to only a dummy site. When the police finally checked, they found 54,348 occurrences of stolen credit card information in the Landslide database.”

People were convicted and lives destroyed when in fact they were simply the victims of credit card fraud. That is the reason for due process of law.

Just because something may appear to belong to a person, does not mean that it necessarily does. “Computer hackers use zombies and botnets to gain access to others’ computer resources so they can carry out illegal acts, such as collecting social security numbers, according to AccessData.”

At the end of the day, Homeland Security is important to all Americans. However, are our fourth amendment rights being blurred and are officials arriving at conclusions without all of the facts? We’re interested to hear your thoughts on the matter as we simply present some questions.

How is the Constitution Free Zone assuring we have better safety? Is the cost worth it?


Map Credit


17 Responses to ““Constitution Free Zone” Questions Border Patrol Security & Search and Seizure Laws”
  1. Balin Hansen says:

    You’re kidding right? The DHS under the Bush Administration maps out all the blue states as a “constitution free zone” and you’re wondering if we’re concerned about our 4th amendment rights? Frankly I’m just sitting on my thumbs wondering when they plan to throw my complacent ass into the gas chamber.

    “the United States sponsored the rise of the 3rd Reich
    Just like the CIA trained terrorists to the fight
    Build bombs and sneak box cutters onto a flight”

    – Immortal Technique

    Picture in your mind a world where all your crops are terminator seeds from Monsanto but drought, floods, unseasonable freezes and heat waves are killing all the crops anyway. All the coastal cities are in ruin from the rising tides and turbulent weather and the only people who prepared for it is the US Navy because they have a vested interest in Global Warming so they’ve done the research to know it’s real. Our collective ignorance, greed, laziness, incompetence and utter disregard for sustainability has finally caught up with us so we’re no longer a world power and no one feels sorry for us. We’re still hopelessly addicted to narcotics, guns, muscle cars, hollywood, oil and sex because that’s all we’re really good at anyway. Money for education has been squeezed to a trickle and half of that goes to the campus football team. Anyone caught in disaster prone areas are all shipped off to FEMA work camps and anyone considered a burden of the state is left high and dry because Social Security has run out of money to pay pensions and assist the disabled and elderly. No one wants to be a nurse so the sick are left unattended or even abused by disgruntled unpaid caregivers.

    Sound bad to you? This is what I expect to see in my lifetime, assuming I live that long. Looking forward to it, frankly. It’ll be like existentialist schadenfreude.

  2. Roodog says:

    This is really frightening, almost frightening enough to have me join the ACLU.
    It’s as much of a matter of keeping us in as it is to keep them out. This country is fast becoming a prison for its people. 2/3 of US citizes without full Constitutional protection? When will the shoe drop for the other third of us?

  3. Cris says:

    Balin Hansen, your loser leftist, “Blame Bush” mantra discredits your opinion. Get over it and educate yourself- for you sound like an idiot (IE) Blue States. Since MSNBC is your only source of education, allow me to explain. The initial purpose of these zones was to help facilitate the interception of drug traffickers and/or terrorists in a timely manner. Usually there is no time to abide by the “probable cause” stipulations (warrants etc.) which US citizens are afforded. I agree that Constitutional Free Zones open the door for potential abuses, but neither of us is privy to the wording of the interdepartmental directives of the Department of Homeland Security. The problem with the majority of posted opinions on this topic is that they oppose the current law, without offering a viable alternative. More important, their opinions call for action, before there is a substantive case where an American Citizen was unjustly harmed due to the existence of a Constitutional free zone. Changing a law, which has proven effective in achieving its intended purpose ((IE) apprehending terrorists and drug couriers), without having an on-point, adjudicated precedent to rectify, lacks cause and is inappropriate.
    Such bad governance is precisely what the Obama Administration did in its jamming through of ‘Net Neutrality’, even after overwhelming Democrat majorities in both houses were unable to pass it. The primary justification used by the Administration to seize control of the internet was that the status quo leaves open the potential for future inequities in broadband access. If we allow this to become the standard for Government regulation, Government power will be unlimited and the constitutional protections we now enjoy will be meaningless.
    In reference to you untoward Bush comment: Constitutional Free zones (under a different name, Constitution is ours alone) exist throughout the world: European Union, Brazil etc., and are a Leftist phenomenon. Therefore, there is absolutely no chance that President Obama will do anything to lessen their impact or remove these zones during his tenure. This fact alone should force you to re-evaluate your current misguided political beliefs; for what you wrote is contradictory. Besmirching Bush (Republicans) and inferring that the ideology of today’s far-left Democrats would somehow serve to remove the Constitutional Free Zone at issue, belies reality. It is clear that you lack an understanding of the competing ideological interpretations, applications and nuance distinctions of the Constitutional issue you have inadvertently drawn into the discussion.

  4. Mike N says:

    The existence of the Constitution Free Zones and TSA’s grope and search and other rights violating, hunker down laws is due to our government and intellectual leaders’ abject cowardice towards the need to destroy our enemies who seek to destroy us. Without the moral courage to destroy our enemies we are doomed to rebuild all our bomb shelters and hope to get lucky.

    These Zones also provide a perfect example of the nature of principles, specifically, the nature of the partial principle. This principle states that any principle adopted only partially will grow by virtue of its own merit. It says in essence, if a little bit of X is good, a little bit more is better. There will always pressure to expand that which is considered to be the good.

    If the principle is a rational one it will serve to sustain human life. If irrational it will threaten human life. Applied to the Zones issue it means that if 100 mile zones are good, then 200 mile zones are better and so on until the entire country is a Constitution Free Zone i.e. lawless. Irrational principles will grow to the point where they will have to be repudiated or accepted entirely. Our current foreign policy commits us to a combination of food and poison, of health and sickness, of our right to life along side of our enemies’ right to destroy us. This is not sustainable, not practical and not moral.

  5. inspokane says:

    I feel the gov. is out of control…and…well…if you make a constitutional free Zone…like all Gov. programs…it starts out with a bad idea and gets worse. Really…when the shit hist the fan…and its gonna. It will be as it is marked. Constitutional free Zone…and your ass is grass. For the rest of us moving to place outside the Zone…well…I think they will come up with something to get around the constitution anyway. Because the progressive movement is getting ready to turn the key of the so called machine… and look out…we are all in trouble. When the Constitution is something to get around and not be followed. It will be got around…and thats the way they see it. we need to follow the good laws inplace and stop creating new ones. If there is no right and wrong…there is no laws that matter and the only ones that will be forced on you are the ones they want to complete there Communist, left wing, socialist agenda. They said they would take our country without firing a shot…and they have done it.

  6. Jerry Chin says:

    I really don’t know why all you guys are complaining about the 100 mile border zone?

    EVERY country in the world has a border zone. in the communist countries, it extends throughout the country. the same with the muslim countries. and let us not forget the dictatorships that exist.

    they can check you anywhere.

    you should count your blessings that america has only a 100 mile border zone. it’s good for us.

  7. Nicole says:

    My family and I just recently relocated to the Detroit area. Tonight, my husband and I hired a sitter for our 4 young children, and went over to Windsor, Ontario to meet some friends. We went to a bar (I drank, my husband did not), and to the casino where we spent about 60 dollars. On the way home, U.S. boarder patrol held us for over an hour without cause or reason. Two U.S. born citizens, with appropriate documentation. No access to our cell phones to call the sitter, and NO access to a restroom, which I needed desperately. I’ve never been treated so rudely in my entire life. When I inquired about a restroom, politely, several times, I was told, “It’ll just be a few more minutes.”, “We don’t have restrooms at this time of night, even for us.”, “Well, we have restrooms that are surveillable inside the cells.”, in a very threatening, “shut up or I’ll lock you up” type of manner. I’m floored, that as a US citizen with no criminal record, that I could be treated in such a manner. Something has got to be done about this.

    After all that, they sent us on our way, without any explanation of WHY we’d been held. I’m never crossing that boarder again, unless it’ll be a permanent crossing.

    The Canadian boarder patrol agent, on the other hand, was thorough, as well as polite and kind. No issues on the way over.

  8. russko says:

    I have just learned that shippers like Fedex, UPS, etc can open any package seeming “suspicious” to them and seize the contents. Why do we have a fourth amendment? The shippers have made up their own set of rules as to what is suspicious and they apparently don’t need a warrant. I have never, that I recall, signed my fourth amendment rights away when I shipped something by them. How does that work anyway?

  9. Rosco1776 says:

    When does the second revolution start? The intrusive federal government has to be brought back to constitutional levels and only one man is not afraid to tell us this and will do something to end it!

    End the madness, vote Ron Paul 2012!!

  10. Roadtramp Rod says:

    What in the hell is wrong with the people of this country? This is so out of control it is unbelievable!I know growing up in the 50’s and 60’s if this senerio had been suggested everyone would have been rolling all over the floor in laughter believing that nothing like this could ever happen in the United States.I know that my parents who were attorneys and WW2 veterns never would have believed that this was possible.The baby Boomer generation with all the protesting in the 60’s sure did a fine job of trashing this great country with their liberal crap that they were preaching.They all acted like spoiled children that did’nt get their way and now 40 yrs later we are seeing the result of all their wisdom.They should have moved to canada and stayed there too bad that Carter let those weasels come back.What a bunch of worthless bastards packing around all their idealistic bullshit and now they’re in government,my old man was right not enough of those liberals were shot at Kent state

  11. Freeman1776 says:

    Not only is this Constitution Free Zone an infringement of our rights, but add to this Agenda 21, and the aggressive effort to disarm Americans, and you get a recipe for tyranny.

    How is this tyranny to be implemented? Through incremental changes in our society. Our schools have been educating our kids, some of whom are now adults, to believe that safeguarding our ecology and our wilderness should be first on our list of priorities. Agenda 21 or “Sustainable Development” is a cleverly created world agenda to save our planet, but a cost. The cost is limiting access to wilderness and federal lands, and restricting people to live within the confines of designated “Sustainable Communities” which are not a threat to our ecosystem. This plan is sponsored by the UN with many nations signatories to it and supported on local levels in the US by National Governors Association as well as National Association of Mayors.

    Agenda 21 will require citizens to eventually request permission to travel in their vehicles or on public transportation and will be required to disclose where and why they make the trip. To enforce this Agenda 21, there needs to be some acceptance by citizens to “saving our ecosystem”, so that these restrictions can become law without much protest. Also, a 100 mile band surrounding the US such as Constitution Free Zone offers, will enable the powers the be to further restrict our rights.

    As long as we don’t protest and ask for more protection as we did after the false flag attack of 911, we will slowly become subservient to political chocking of our liberties. It is time to wake up and alert your friends as to the scheming of those who would enforce the globalization of our freedoms to serve their goals of a New World Order.

  12. DaizyMaine says:

    I can tell those who live within the 100 mile zone and those who do not (Jerry) 😉 We live directly on the Canadian border in farm country. We plant our fields right up to the border, as do the Canadian farmers on the other side. There is a field road that runs the perimeter of our farm, but we get pulled over every time we drive on our field road – the boarder patrol vehicles drive in our plowed and planted fields with apparent impunity – We are asked our business every time we ride around the farm by the constant influx of new agents. It would be nice if just once they ran the plate, said oh landowner and let us enjoy out drive and the sights without the blue lights coming on. Now, I am not against government and I certainly realize they have a job to do, but they automatically use intimidation to as they have said “do anything they want and go anywhere they want” within this zone. So that makes us almost US citizens with limited rights to our land, livelihood, and privacy. I am not adverse to working with the government to secure our border as we have done in the past and plowed up the access road to limit anyone driving on the field road but the bullying has got to stop! I don’t remember signing away our rights and if we don’t have the rights why do we have to pay taxes? Can we make them pay for access to our land as they are taking the right of way to our fields whether we like it or not?

  13. Jake B says:

    Talking about it here is hopeless. You have to stand on your soap box and make the public aware of what is going on. Until you pose somewhat of a “threat”, meaning starting a movement, they will turn a blind eye to you. I should know I’m 15 and I’ve sent plenty of letters and received those chain letters saying that they appreciate your concerns.

  14. Hu Charles says:

    The problem here is whether or not there should be a ‘Constitution Free Zone’ . Since there is nothing in the Constitution about an area that is not protected by it in the US(or that the Federal Government has the authority to reduce the protection of the Constitution in any manner) – at the moment the rest of world is not our concern – all States have full protection of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights without any reduction in force which the courts of Illinois and Ohio have done for the 4th Amendment.
    How about this, have a complete Constitution Free US – meaning all States will be without any protection provided by the Constitution – or – all States enjoy the complete protection of the Constitution without any reduction of the Bill of Rights that the Courts, Legislatures and Presidents have done(reduced). A simple and easy answer to a simple and stupid problem. The reason for the Bill of Rights was to protect the people, not to make the Governments job easy.
    Example – The purpose of the Jury is for the Protection of the Defendant and not to help the Prosecution win a case. Do away with all Jury questions except are you a citizen of this state and can you give a fair rendering in this case. Explain Jury Nullification to the Jurors. If they an easy job, get rid of every victimless law on the books and keep those that protect the victim – provide restution – punish the perpetrator/predator. It would mean a lot of LEO’s, Judges, Prosecutors and Prisons would be gone but good ridance I say.


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