ACLU files suit against Border Patrol

May 23, 2012 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Uncategorized 

Published on Wed, May 23, 201  by AMANDA WINTERS, Sequim Gazette

The American Civil Liberties Union of Washington and the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Border Patrol on April 26 on behalf of three Clallam County residents.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court in Seattle, claims the Border Patrol on the Olympic Peninsula conducts traffic stops without legal justification, creating a climate of fear and anxiety.

“The residents in this suit are all U.S. citizens who worry that they could be stopped and questioned without reason any time they drive or are passengers in cars,” Sarah Dunne, ACLU Washington legal director, said. “We’re asking the court to put in place safeguards to stop the Border Patrol’s unlawful and unfair practices.”

The three plaintiffs named in the suit are Jose Sanchez of Forks; Ishmael Ramos Contreras of Forks; and Ernest Grimes of Neah Bay. All three say they have experienced unwarranted stops and interrogations in a variety of settings while going about their daily lives.

The suit would have the court require Border Patrol agents prepare documentation recording the basis of their suspicion that justifies each stop.

“People are being stopped based solely on their appearance and ethnicity,” NWIRP Legal Director Matt Adams said. “This is unlawful and contrary to American values. No one in a car should be stopped and interrogated by government agents unless the law enforcement officer has a legal basis to do so.”

In response to the lawsuit, Supervisory Border Patrol Agent Richard Sinks provided the following statement:

“U.S. Customs and Border Protection strictly prohibits profiling on the basis of race or religion. In determining whether individuals are admissible into the United States, CBP utilizes specific facts and follows the Department of Justice’s ‘Guidance Regarding the Use of Race by Federal Law Enforcement Agencies.’”

The Border Patrol presence on the Olympic Peninsula has been the subject of controversy, especially in 2008 when agents conducted traffic checkpoints throughout the area. A group called Stop the Checkpoints formed to protest the practice.

In 2011, an agent stationed out of Port Angeles testified before a congressional panel in Washington, D.C., there was little for the approximately 40 Border Patrol agents, up from 24 in 2009, to do on the peninsula.

Christian Sanchez told the panel he and other agents drove around “wasting gasoline” and taxpayer money for 10 hours a day, going stir-crazy from boredom.

Speaking before the Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce shortly after Sanchez’s statements, Jose Romero, then-supervisor of the Port Angeles station, said there is “no reason (for agents) to be bored up here.”

The Border Patrol currently is in the final stages of a $5.7 million remodel of the former Eagles Lodge in Port Angeles to house new headquarters.

Reach Amanda Winters at


2 Responses to “ACLU files suit against Border Patrol”
  1. I live in the City of Imperial, CA. My 20yr old son (American Citzen) came from San Diego this sunday for fathers day on I-8 and was stopped at the checkpoint EB at In -koh Pah and held for three hours from 1300hrs to 1600hrs. He drives a 94 ford Explorer SUV. The officers last name who did all the questioning last name is Marquez. They handcuffed him to a chair for one hour and asked all kinds of questions. Andres is a straight kid who does not drink or smoke anything., Finally after 3 hours they released him and of course they did not find anything on his vehicle. How do Igo about filing a complaint. I would like to handcuff this young Border Patrol young man named Marquez and handcuff hime to a chair to see how it feels to be handcuffed and humiliated for no reason. I am a Caltrans Engineer and can be reached at the above g-mail

  2. Lois says:

    You can go to the ACLU and they will know how to file a complaint, or you can find a complaint form on the website
    Please let us know if you file a complaint and what response you get!

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