Navigating the Thin Line of Liberty at the Border

If you don’t have anything to hide, what’s the harm of government monitoring of your private affairs? That’s a common refrain from people who dismiss civil liberty concerns about privacy.  When the question is framed as a choice between privacy and security, Americans say they want security more. But what if the choice is security vs. personal dignity?

On the Media ran a provocative series of stories recently that demonstrate how these questions have become everyday reality for American citizens crossing the border. And in some cases, the questions are getting asked at roadblocks and checkpoints well within the Homeland that is meant to be secured. OTM coverage began with Sarah Abdurrahman’s story of detainment at the border crossing in Detroit:

  • My Detainment Story or: How I learned to Stop Feeling Safe in My Own Country and Hate Border Agents* – On The Media 092013
    Earlier this month, OTM producer Sarah Abdurrahman, her family, and her friends were detained for hours by US Customs and Border Protection on their way home from Canada. Everyone being held was a US citizen, and no one received an explanation. Sarah tells the story of their detainment, and her difficulty getting any answers from one of the least transparent agencies in the country.
  • Which committee is responsible for providing oversight at our borders? – On The Media 092713
    Bob reads listener responses to producer Sarah Abdurrhaman’s piece“My Detainment Story or: How I learned to Stop Feeling Safe in My Own Country and Hate Border Agents.” Brooke talks to former congressman Lee H. Hamilton, co-author of a recent report calling for reform of the Department of Homeland Security, about how the DHS can, and should, work better.
  • Why Americans Abroad are Giving Up U.S. Citizenship – The Takeaway 100213
    The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act requires all financial institutions around the world to report to the IRS the earnings and assets of U.S. citizens living abroad in an effort to crack down on tax evasion. But complying with the law is long, complicated, and expensive—and as a result, more Americans abroad are relinquishing their U.S. citizenship. Ruth Freeborn, an American living in Canada, and Jackie Bugnion, tax team director at American Citizens Abroad, explain why.
  • The Road to Nowhere (Near the Border) – On The Media 092713
    Terry Bressi is a staff engineer at the University of Arizona’s planetary lab. To get to Kitt Peak National Observatory, he must take an east to west running highway, which has an in-country immigration checkpoint. Bressi estimates he’s been stopped over 300 times at immigration checkpoints along this road, which at no point crosses the border, since 2008. Brooke talks with Bressi about how he began videotaping his interactions with the border agents. (The videos have become something of an internet sensation).
  • Terry Bressi – YouTube
    Search results for Terry Bressi.
  • Roadblock Revelations
    Terry Bressi: “Welcome to Checkpoint USA’s blog. Here you’ll find general information and discussions regarding growing threats to our right to privacy & travel. While I refer to court cases along with state and federal law frequently in this blog, nothing written here should be construed as legal advice. I am not an attorney. Rather, I’m someone concerned about the growing disregard for individual rights present at all levels of government. My conclusions are my own based upon personal experience and research. The law is made purposely complex however and varies significantly from place to place and circumstance to circumstance.”
  • Checkpoint USA
    This website is dedicated to confronting roadblocks to freedom wherever they may arise. Special attention will be given to physical roadblocks designed to impede the right of Americans to travel freely within our own country but attention will also be given to general violations of our right to privacy.

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