Apparently, New York State is the new Eastern Europe of 1943, with the American border patrol agents playing the role of Nazi soldiers demanding everyone’s papers on the train. Have you heard this story?
To see what immigration hard-liners really have in mind, ride the Lake Shore Limited between Chicago and New York or Boston. It is a daily Amtrak train that is regularly boarded and searched by the Border Patrol, even though it does not cross any international border.
That’s in yesterday’s NY Times, and refers back to this story earlier in the week, also in the Times.
The federal government is authorized to do just that at places where people enter and leave the country, and at a “reasonable distance” from the border. But as the patrol expands and tries to raise falling arrest numbers, critics say, the concept of the border is becoming more fluid, eroding Constitutional limits on search and seizure.
And unlike Arizona’s law, the change is happening without public debate. “It’s turned into a police state on the northern border,” said Cary M. Jensen, director of international services for the University of Rochester, whose foreign students, scholars and parents have been questioned and jailed, often because the patrol did not recognize their legal status. “It’s essentially become an internal document check.”
Why isn’t this on the front page of every newspaper and at the top of every news program. This is America! We shouldn’t have to prove our citizenship every time we come within 100 miles of any border. What’s next? Flags on our sleeves? And where is the debate on this issue?