- Politics and Social Issues
Getting Stopped by The Border Patrol
This summer as I headed southeast having recently left El Paso signs along the highway announced a lane closure. Orange cones appeared to my left and I watched as several vehicles passed and pulled in the right lane in front of me. I couldn’t see anything ahead in the roadway except a single lane of vehicles. I could easily see being in the best lane as my viewpoint was about the same as a trucker in his eighteen-wheel semi.
The orange cones soon had closed off the entire left hand lane and had been set to eventually close off the right lane as well herding all of us toward the next exit which was a truck weigh-in station. I slowed the RV and pulled off behind a silver minivan. There were several border patrol vehicles parked at the station and just as many agents in their official uniforms manning two checkpoints. It was the first time I had experienced a stop by the patrol since being out west including Texas and New Mexico.
My eyes were glued on the Latino officer checking the van in front of me. He had the driver step out of the vehicle and then walked around it looking in all the windows. I watched as he returned the man’s credentials to him and allowed him to get back in the vehicle. The minivan slowly pulled forward and it was now my turn.
Curious as to what was happening; my dog Charlie had jumped up on the RV’s wide dashboard giving him a great view from the large front window. Amazingly, he wasn’t barking like he often did…instead he was mesmerized I guess by the guard dog sniffing around the pickup truck at the station to my right. I slowly pulled forward and slid my window open. While waiting in the line I had already removed my driver’s license and registration having it ready for the agent.
Holding my credentials out the window I slowed until the man stopped me completely and I proffered the documents. He didn’t take them. Instead he looked up at me and asked, “Are you a United States citizen?”
I answered affirmatively and then he asked, “Anyone else on board?”
Motioning toward my dog I confirmed I was alone except for the dog. Once again he asked, “And you are an American citizen?”
“Yes,” I told him and tried to get him to look at my Texas license. He waived it off and told me to continue forward. I thought he wanted me to move forward out of the lane so my 37’ motorhome could be boarded and checked without blocking the checkpoint and help keep traffic moving.
There was no safe place to pull over and I crept
forward. Looking in the side mirror I watched
as the Jeep I towed behind cleared the checkpoint. The border patrol agent then stopped the next
vehicle in line and continued his job totally ignoring me. I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do but
since pulling over wasn’t an option I continued toward the access to
the highway. Again, I looked in the side
mirror and saw no one attempting to stop me.
Were they finished with me?
Pulling out, I continued on my way wondering what exactly was going on back at the checkpoint. Not only was it an inconvenience to every vehicle that used that section of highway, it also was our tax dollars that paid the salaries of the agents.
If the checkpoint was to there to search vehicles that may be carrying illegal aliens deeper into Texas then why was I allowed to continue on my way without being boarded? Granted, being boarded would have been a great inconvenience as my dog would have gone nuts and would have to be restrained. Then their patrol dog would have left its scent in my coach causing more undo stress on my dog down the road. All my cabinets would have been gone through as would the Jeep I towed.
Then again, how many human beings could I have had hidden on my coach? In addition to all the cupboards, nooks and crannies the whole lower portion of the coach has large, secure storage bins that would certainly be hot and uncomfortable but could hide someone as well.
So, just what was the stop all about? No offense to the patrol agent, but were they just doing enough of a job to look official so they would receive their weekly paycheck? If so, was this just a fluke? Are other agents doing the same thing all along our borders? Is this why there are so many illegals in our country? Did the agent realize boarding my vehicle would have been a time consuming process and maybe, just maybe it was close to shift change?
I don’t have an answer. What I do know is the unemployment rate in our country is higher than ever before in history. Many illegals are taking some labor jobs away from our often low income workers creating a strain on the welfare system. Sure, many of the so called jobs they take from tax payers are menial and paid off the books…under the table as they say. Their unscrupulous employers are the only winners in that circumstance.
Just an observation...