The United States Border Patrol is ignoring the Constitution and regularly trampling the rights of US Citizens, including many ranchers.
That’s the allegation increasingly being made by residents of Southwestern states and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
“They have completely ignored what this country was based on and that’s private property and human rights — being an American,” Rancher John Ladd said of the Border Patrol in a disturbing new ACLU video. Among other things, Ladd accuses the Border Patrol of making it impossible to operate the Bisbee, Arizona ranch that’s been in his family for six generations.
He said the Border Patrol:
- Monitors his movements “every day. … I’m questioned daily about what I’m doing.” Agents watch his every movement through cameras on his ranch and call him to see what he is doing. He said he sometimes says, “That’s none of your business.”
- Threatened to shoot his dogs if they were running loose. “That’s what the mentality is down here, I cannot even let my dogs run wild.” Ladd said. He keeps them in a fence.
- Cut his fences and let his cattle loose. Ladd complained that this could make him liable for a lawsuit because the cattle could cross highways and create a wreck. “They have no idea what the value of having a fence and a gate is,” Ladd said. “They don’t care.”
“I’m tired of putting up with the federal government and Border Patrol and anybody that thinks they have the right to come onto my ranch and do whatever they want,” Ladd said.
Ladd told the ACLU that he once cooperated with the Border Patrol but he doesn’t work with the agency anymore because it regularly violates his rights.
Border Patrol Brutalizes 75 Year Old Veteran
Ladd isn’t the only one with disturbing allegations against the Border Patrol. Larry Kirschenman, a 75-year-old Vietnam Vet, made charges that may be even more disturbing. He alleges that he was brutally assaulted by a Border Patrol agent during a routine inspection after returning from Mexico where he just ate lunch.
“I’ve been in combat and I’ve never been hurt that bad in my life,” Kirschenman said of his encounter with agents on March 27, 2013. Agents pulled his vehicle over to search it while he was crossing a border checkpoint. When the army veteran questioned agents’ authority to search his vehicle, he claims they handcuffed and brutalized him.
“He picked me up by the seat of the pants and the handcuffs and slammed my head into the floor,” Kirschenman said. The wound and chest pains caused by this were so serious that he had to be taken to the hospital by an ambulance.
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“They’re not trying to restrain me — they’re trying to hurt me,” Kirschenman said of the agents. Kirschenman, who has worked as a prison guard, says he understands the difference between restraints and brutality.
“Ever since then I’m beginning to realize that our country is not as free and democratic as we might think,” Kirschenman said. He said he now suffers from partial paralysis and bad dreams because of his experiences with the Border Patrol.
Agents say his wounds were self-inflected.
Border Patrol Agents Terrorize Mother and Children
Meanwhile, Border Patrol agents threatened Clarisa Christiansen with a Taser and a knife in front of her two children, according to the ACLU. Christiansen was driving near her home on the US side of the border when agents pulled her over and asked what she was doing.
“If I didn’t get out of the vehicle I felt like this man who was threatening to tase me and cut me out of my vehicle was going to hurt me,” Christiansen said of an agent. Three agents pulled her over and became aggressive when she questioned their authority. The agent threatened to shoot her with a Taser and cut her out of her seat belt with his knife.
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Among other things, Christiansen alleges that agents slashed her tire. Her son said he saw an agent stick a knife into the tire of the vehicle, a Land Rover.
“They just seem to think that they can do whatever they want and bully everybody around,” Christiansen said. “They scared me. They scared my kids.”
“You feel like you’re being watched for no reason all the time,” Clarisa Christiansen said of the Border Patrol.
It is easy to see why the ACLU is accusing the Border Patrol of turning the region into a militarized zone. A better term for the area might be a Constitution-Free zone.