U.S. Border Patrol


This site is maintained by supporters of the United States Border Patrol and this is not an official government site. The contents of this site are privately managed and not subject to the direction or control of the United States Border Patrol.

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A Border Patrol Moment

Border Patrol Agents can only operate within 100 air miles of any US border. Thus, you will not see a Border Patrol Agent in Kansas. You may see an Immigration and Naturalization Service Agent in Kansas but no one from the Border Patrol unless he is on vacation.

If a Border Patrol Agent stops you, a Kabuki Dance begins. Your actions and reactions to the Agent's questions can and will determine how long and how involved that dance will be.

The Agent will stop you because he has "reasonable suspicion" that you-the-pedestrian or you-the-occupant-of-a- vehicle is an illegal alien or is involved in "criminal activity". The Border Patrol Agent must notice that you are different from "innocent persons engaged in similar but legal behaviour."

But to the Agent, his "reasonable suspicion" is the "sole authority" for your "detention."

To the Agent, "reasonable suspicion" may be engendered by:

A suspect's suspicious behaviour

Unusual reaction to uniformed officers

Nervous demeanor

Corroborated tips

Citizen calls

The Agent's experience regarding the time and place and traffic and area in which the suspicious activity has been observed.

Electronic detection of your presence (yes, they have thousands of sensors along the border).

Physical evidence linking the subject to illegal border crossing (bits of your shirt hanging on the border fence will do).

When a Border Patrol Agent has "reasonable suspicion" that you are an illegal alien or that you were or are engaged in "criminal activity" then he can "stop" you. This "detention" can last for a reasonable time while the Border Patrol Agent conducts a lawful "investigative activity" to quickly confirm or dispel their suspicion.

Whew! Wasn't that a mouthful!

But there's more!

Where Border Patrol Agents have "reasonable suspicion" that a vehicle contains illegal aliens, they may stop the vehicle and briefly question those occupants reasonably believed to be aliens as to their right to be or remain in the United States of America. Such "detention" may last for a reasonable period of time while the Border Patrol Agent conducts lawful "investigative activities" to quickly confirm or dispel their suspicion.

And finally!

In many parts of the United States of America all the roads leading away from the southern border area are sealed off with US Border Patrol Agents. These Agents operate "checkpoints" as deep as 60 miles inside the United States. Tens of thousands of illegal aliens and drug smugglers are caught at these checkpoints every year.

Federal officers can freely stop vehicles for inspection at these checkpoints without any required level of suspicion or justification. That is the law. Most of these checkpoints have separate areas reserved nearby where a stopped vehicle can be nearly stripped under what is called "secondary inspection". The referral of a vehicle to "secondary inspection" needs only to be "selective" and does not require any "reasonable suspicion".

It is best if you do not annoy, abuse, alarm, alert, tease, torment, or disturb a Border Patrol Agent at any of these checkpoints.

Border Patrol Agents cannot and will not take your drivers license away from you. (The federal agent working at a legal Port of Entry can take your driver's license or almost any other documentation away from you.)

The Border Patrol Agent will engage you in "consensual conversation". "Consensual conversation" is not interrogation. Consensual conversation is ... conversation.

"Good morning, how are you, that's a nice gun you have in your pocket", are all simply one side of a consensual conversation, but in polite society they do require that you make some verbal response.

While the Agent is having this consensual conversation with you you are -- essentially -- detained and you and your vehicle cannot leave. It is very important that you do not attempt to leave.

Leaving the Agent without his permission will almost certainly be met with what is called in the vernacular of the profession a "Dynamic Apprehension". We civilians might call it ….. a chase and a tackle.

The problem with a Dynamic Apprehension is that one or more of you will fall to the ground and or bounce off of various hard objects like walls, cars, the sidewalk or rocks and bushes if perpetrated in more suburban areas.

This fall almost certainly will be with you -- the illegal / the uncooperatve -- on the bottom and with the usually larger more athletically inclined Agent on top. If somehow you wind up on top then things can get very energetic and the mysteries of your life may be found in your autopsy report.


U. S. Border Patrol Bullet Proof Vest

Here's a bullet hole in his steel reinforced armored vest.He will not give YOU a chance to do this... to him.


It does not matter what YOU think is going on. It only matters what the Border Patrol Agent thinks is going on. In addition, people sitting at home who have never been in trouble with the law or have never dealt with violent criminals have no idea what violent things can happen. The most inspiringly pathetic recent news report of this kind of "culture clash" between people in the know and completely naieve fools occured in Switzerland. A Muslim fellow decided to hijack an airplane and people died at his hands. He was captured and convicted of murder and the hijacking an airliner and he received a life term in a Swiss prison. Time passes. The Swiss in their infinite wisdom and vast experience only with Swiss criminals... offer the murdering hijacker with a Life Sentence a weekend pass. Now, even the most liberal American should know what happened next. Well, it just never even occured to the Swiss.......

So, again, Border Patrol Agents have to deal with the real world and not "how things should be" and so they take "Dynamic Apprehensions" as serious events of life and death.

Again, Border Patrol Agents have to deal with very unpleasant people on a daily basis and have years of experience limiting the level of potential danger to themselves and to other potential victims.

It is the Agent's sworn duty to defend the borders of the United States and to stop the illegal entry of anyone.

Chasing after an illegal is essentially like chasing after a chance to be violently mugged. The Agent is actually running toward a reasonable expectation of himself being beaten or injured and it is only his training and fiber that will protect him.

Never run from an Agent.

The Border Patrol Agent cannot enter a dwelling to detain you. If the door is even just closed then he cannot enter. Many illegals think that by simply running into some dwelling they will be safe. In reality, the Agent can simply wait them out, no matter how long it takes.

The Agent only needs reasonable suspicion that you are an illegal alien or that you have perpetrated some crime to detain you. Yes, your foreign appearance is in itself a factor in his detaining you.

Reasonable Suspicion And Consensual Conversation

So when the Border Patrol Agent stops you and you say you are a US citizen and he has real doubts about it then he may ask you some fundamental questions about this country. If you are a citizen then you should have some common knowledge about the United States.

What elementary school did you go to?

What grades are in an elementary school?

What city are you from?

What does that city look like?

Then the Border Patrol agent will look at you more closely.

Do you have any prison style tattoos?

Do you have any needle marks?

Could you have been in a US jail?

Because most illegal aliens stick to themselves -- even if they have been in the United States on and off for decades -- they usually have absolutely no real concept of America or even knowledge of the city in which they live. They are not interested in the United States. They have a family back home and they are here only to make money to send home. Further, mentally they are operating under the laws and rules of their home country even though they are here. Driving without a driving license or running from a traffic accident or petty theft are usually all normal activities in their home country.

The Border Patrol Agent may ask to see any proof of citizenship you may possess. The US Border Patrol uses various aids in determining whether the documents provided to an Agent by you are real or forgeries. One such aid is M-396 Rev 8/98 A Guide To Selected US Travel ID Documents.

If you hand him a false ID and he detects that it is a false ID then you may soon have certain dramatic and quite personal issues to deal with.

At some point during your detainment the Border Patrol Agent may take out a plastic card and read you your rights under US law. The federal version of the "Miranda Rights" list is the I-214 form.

The exact wording of the "Miranda Rights" statement was not specified by the United States Supreme Court and so American law enforcement and federal agencies have all created their own sets of simple statements.

The federal I-214 is offered in English and Spanish.

What they all says is:

1. You have the right to remain silent.

2. Anything you say can be used against you in a court of law.

3. You have the right to have an attorney present now and during any future questioning.

4. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed to you free of charge.

In the real world.... you can be arrested without ever being read your Miranda Rights. You may only be advised of your rights before something called "questioning."

But the reality of your plight can be much more interesting. You can be arrested, jailed, tried, convicted and then jailed forever -- all with your never having ever been given your Miranda rights. It just depends upon how much hard evidence they have against you.

As far as Sr. Ernesto Miranda... The Poster Child for the Miranda warning:

Sr. Miranda had been arrested for something minor but then during his time in the detective's office he blurted out that he had been out kidnapping children and raping them. The police were very impressed with his honesty and proceded to have him prosecuted and convicted of these crimes. This is where our legal system took over and got him temporarily sprung. Sr. Miranda was then given a second trial for these heinous crimes. His "illegal" confession was not presented at this new trial. Sr. Miranda was however again convicted of kidnapping and rape. He only served 11 years for the rape of a child. Sr. Ernesto Miranda was out on the streets of America when he was -- eventually -- stabbed to death in a fight. Police arrested a very good suspect who, after choosing to exercise his Miranda Rights, was released.

It is very important that the illegal alien understand that making a false claim or statement to a federal officer is a federal felony. Being asked "Are you a US citizen?" and answering "Yes" when in truth the answer is "…..Ahhhhh …. No", can certainly be construed as making a false claim, and thus is a federal felony.

Federal felonies are very bad things.

Rather than being caught out in the bushes you might instead get caught at an official border crossing. A real official border crossing is called a Port of Entry. A Port of Entry has certain legal basis and is a very serious place. Very few people who cross our borders every day have any idea whatsoever how serious those 45 seconds in front of an INS or Border Patrol or Customs agent really are. An agent operating at an official US Port of Entry has immense powers. Only very rarely does the agent exercise even a fraction of the power he actually has. At a minimum a US citizen can be easily denied re-entry into the US. There is no probable cause needed for the agent at a Port of Entry to do his duty. It is 100% the responsibility of the US citizen to prove to the agent that he or she is in fact a US citizen.

But let's say you handed the Border Patrol Agent a false form of identification…

Asset Forfeiture

Certain federal crimes include a penalty of forfeiture of property including a motor vehicle (even a boat or plane). Put simply, if you have done certain things and you were caught while in or on or around your motor vehicle then that vehicle can be taken from you and sold and, no, you do not get the money.

These laws are set forth in USC Title 8 section #1324 and in INS act 274. This all is covered in federal Maritime Law.

Further, it is also covered in federal RICO statutes (you can use the HBO series Sopranos as a training film for RICO).

If you have used forged documents then your vehicle is history. If you were smuggling someone then -- again -- you will lose the vehicle.

Being a smuggler can be defined as: The "Someone" in a car with an illegal alien who has or would "further their entry".

There must be probable cause for seizure of the vehicle but it is usually fairly obvious that something untoward has been discovered:

A person -- or persons -- hiding in the trunk of your car will usually engender some curiosity even in the most miasmic Border Patrol Agent.

Or duct taped to the underside of the vehicle.

Or the discovery of a vehicle fitted with a special bench seat where all the stuffing has been removed and replaced by your illegal alien girlfriend.

Or strapped to the underside of the wheel well of a truck.

Or duct taped inside the cloth headliner of your vehicle.

What is required is your knowledge that the person is there and / or reckless disregard. The seizure action is against the vehicle and not against the people arrested. Yes, it is against the conveyance itself.

Once you have been handcuffed and removed to a clean -- if barren -- room with green enamel painted walls and a toilet obscured from view only by a two foot high concrete block wall, your vehicle will be removed as well.

Your vehicle will be transported to a vehicle seizure lot run by US Marshals. Your vehicle is no longer your problem and it is no longer the US Border Patrol's problem.

The owner of the vehicle will be notified by mail. As far as the US Marshals are concerned the "owner" is the person recorded at the state's department of motor vehicles as being the owner. The "owner" has the right to lay claim to the vehicle. Its seizure will be advertised in a local paper for three consecutive weeks. Usually this advertisement will occur in some newspaper that you would never read but is the official newspaper of official notices.

The owner has the right to the return of his vehicle if he simply "lent it to another", or the illegal alien discovered in the vehicle was unknown to the owner.. a "hitchhiker" ?.

It is also possible to have the vehicle released if it is obvious something strange had occurred. If it was a truck carrying a dozen porta-pottys and one of the potty's was filled with illegals then there is some reasonable chance that the owner and driver had not a clue and so the vehicle would be released.

Then there are "rental cars". If a rental car is seized it can only be released if there is a valid rental contract in the car and or the rental agreement and the "renter" has the credit card used to rent the vehicle. There will be a detailed financial investigation of all the persons involved.

One real problem is a "taxi". These are considered "common carriers" like buses and trains and really big airplanes even though some taxi drivers / owners are full fledged smugglers.

Then there are cover deals. Someone might "sell" a vehicle to a smuggler for $3,000 and the smuggler will put $100 down with the rest to be paid in full in six months. When the car is seized it is shown that the smuggler has a very small interest in the vehicle and the "owner" can then petition to have the car returned.

What do you do with a mile long freight train with illegals sitting among the freight? Do you seize the train? No. It is a common carrier (see above).

If the vehicle was not used by a commercial smuggler then often a $500 fine is sufficient to get the vehicle released. Again, the vehicle may even be an airplane or a boat. Any vehicles not returned to their "owner" will be sold at auction.

The US Marshall's Service will sell the vehicle at a real public auction. The identity of all bidders will be determined. If you go to an auction and are a smuggler or a criminal alien then you can be discovered and you can get three years in a concrete residential facility in the desert.

Most criminals are not too bright and easily returned to "federal residences" where all the furniture has been securely bolted to the floor. It is amazing how many people are arrested at the front doors of prisons because they went to visit their "ol man" and were carrying drugs, guns, whatever.

On any given day there are more than 4,000 seized vehicles in the United States' San Ysidro Port of Entry seizure lot alone. The storage fee is about a dollar a day. Buying one of these vehicles at auction may be a very big mistake.

First, most people who are arrested and their vehicles seized are messy and do not take good care of their equipment.

Second, most such vehicles were "expendable" and were worthless to begin with.

Third - and this could be a VERY big problem for you in the future -- the vehicle could have been used in a drug deal and still contain drugs. Yes, the feds looked it over really closely and removed everything that they found. But when you drive that vehicle someplace like Mexico and get stopped and they find 25 year old fermented-to-a-brown-paste marijuana you will get……. five years in a Mexican prison. You will serve those five years. If you take the vehicle in for some repair in this country and the mechanic (who is on parole and needs a favor from his parole officer) sees something taped underneath the car you will spend $40,000 explaining everything to the feds through a dapperly dressed criminal attorney.

The US Border Patrol does not get the proceeds from the sale of the vehicle. The money goes to the US Marshal's Service.

If for some reason "it was all a mistake" and the vehicle is not released then it is possible to file a petition and have it adjudicated. The vehicle owner has ten days to submit a letter for "Re-Consideration". At this point the letter goes to the Chief Patrol Agent who can return the vehicle or release it for sale by the US Marshals.

There are other serious things that can happen to your property. Your real property (eg. house) can be seized under Sec. 9192 and / or 1978 and / or 1997. This is true if you have been manufacturing false documents or have any in your possession.


U.S.Border Patrol The Wall U.S. Border Patrol Overview U.S. Border Patrol Weapons


This site is maintained by supporters of the United States Border Patrol and this is not an official government site. The contents of this site are privately managed and not subject to the direction or control of the United States Border Patrol.