Immigration Overhaul Could Bring Relief to Over-Patrolled Olympic Peninsula

Sen. Patty Murray says she’s successfully advanced an amendment to the immigration overhaul bill that shrinks what is in essence a Constitution-free zone along the border.

And by along the border, we mean anything within a two hour drive of the Great White North.

Under current law, federal border agents can enter private land without a warrant within 25 miles of an international boundary and stop vehicles subjectively within 100 miles of “any external boundary.”

The law essentially makes Seattle a border town, as far as federal agents are concerned, though in practice the Border Patrol’s strongest tactics have been seen on the Olympic Peninsula.

There, Mexican immigrants have been detained and deported after being snatched up in one of Border Patrol’s “suspicionless checkpoints.”

The post-9/11, beefed up presence of border agents in towns like Forks has been a well-documented scourge to immigrants there; Forks sits 60 miles from the nearest port of entry to the United States, though it’s about 30 miles from the border as the crow flies (we’re checking with Murray’s people to figure out how Forks would be affected if the 25 mile rule becomes law).

Says Murray:

“For years the border patrol has set up checkpoints that disrupt commerce and hassle residents. This amendment provides our federal officers the tools they need to keep our border safe while also focusing our Custom and Border Patrol agents on their mission near the border.”

Of course, the amendment will be for naught if Congress decides to once again punt on immigration reform. While the bill is expected to pass the Senate later this week, many fear that it will die in the U.S. House, since U.S. House isn’t much interested in passing anything.

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