Border Searches Cover The Entire State of Michigan
I remember sitting in my constitutional law class when the professor began his lecture on border searches, and when he explained the basis of these types of searches I was a little surprised. There has always been a decrease in personal and constitutional rights when entering a country, whether it be the US or a foreign land. However, the issues involved within border searches extends far beyond what one would think as the actual international border. Many individuals are unaware that courts, and thus law enforcement, have interpreted and extended the actual international border. In fact, there is actually an imaginary line created, extending the international border 100-miles from that imaginary line and bringing about lower constitutional protections for individuals found within that area. This is where border searches come into play because when individuals are found within these 100-mile areas and confronted by border patrol they will be maintain lower standards of constitutional protections as compared to areas outside of these 100-mile areas.
The lower constitutional protection found within these areas allow for border patrol to potentially conduct warrantless border searches on individuals that they suspect to enter or be in this country illegally. In Michigan, border searches are found to be in higher number because of the Canadian border. With that said, the Great Lakes have also been interpreted as a functional equivalent to a international border when discussing border searches and these 100-mile zones. At this point, you may be thinking or coming to the conclusion that much of Michigan falls within a 100-mile zone because of the close proximately to Canada.
The ACLU recently began investigation and legal action involving this very issue: border searches occurring within Michigan. The Detroit News outlined some of the issues in a recent article. Because of the area covered by these 100-mile zones border searches can become an issue for anyone who resides or travels within Michigan due to the decrease in constitutional protection and allowance of warrantless searches. It has been estimated that a low number of border searches within these zones actually occur; however, there are serious concerns about the tactics and program implemented within these areas. The amount of coverage increases the impact that border searches can have on individuals, especially US citizens.
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