Secrecy at the Border

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Friday, February 28, 2014

A look at the suspension of rights at the border, murkiness of border policies, and lack of answers from the federal government.

My Detainment Story or: How I Learned To Stop Feeling Safe In My Own Country and Hate Border Agents

Back in September, 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.

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Device Searches at the Border

The border is a legal gray area where the same constitutional protections one expects inside the country don't necessarily apply. When graduate student Pascal Abidor had his electronic devices searched and seized at the border back in 2010, he filed lawsuit against the federal government. But in December, a federal judge upheld the government's right to search travelers' devices at the border without a warrant. Brooke speaks with Pascal about his experience at the border and the lawsuit.

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Invasive Cavity Search at the Border

"Jane Doe" is a 54-year old US citizen who was crossing into the US at the Juarez/El Paso border when agents took her aside for secondary screening. The screening ended up being 6 hours of invasive cavity searches—which yielded nothing and left her traumatized. Bob speaks with Laura Schauer Ives, an ACLU attorney for Jane Doe about what happened at the border that day.

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Investigating Use of Force at the Border

A recent investigation from The Arizona Republic found that since 2005, at least 42 people have been killed by US Customs and Border Protection agents. But getting information about those incidents is no easy task. Bob speaks with Bob Ortega, one of the reporters behind the investigation, about the difficulty in getting answers on use of force at the border.


Shedding Light on DHS

Getting information from Customs and Border Protection and the Department of Homeland Security is not just difficult for journalists and private citizens—even members of Congress have a hard time getting answers. Brooke speaks with Representative Beto O'Rourke of Texas' 16th District about the oversight needed to ensure more transparency from DHS.

And a crowdsourcing project to Shed Light on DHS!

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