Inland Border Checkpoints

A reality of driving near the border, is having the pass through inland border checkpoints. Until I actually started living in Texas and traveling for work, I did not know these even existed (kind of like stickers in the windows of Mexican plated cars). Basically the Border Patrol has jurisdiction up to 50 miles from the border so they set up checkpoints in which you have to pass through. You have to orally declare your citizenship and I think you may be subject to secondary questioning. Unlike a lot of my other border crossings, I have not been subject to secondary questioning at an inland border checkpoint.

Now this still seems weird to me. I understand when you are crossing the border the purpose of them checking you. It is just weird that you can see they have taken pieces of highway, blocked it off, and then made a checkpoint out of it.

Sometimes, it’s actually kind of funny when I do go through these. When I am driving the TABC vehicle, I’m sometimes asked who I am going to raid next or some other question about an operation TABC gets involved with. Normally I just say I’m an IT guy and my operation is getting the internet working at a POE.

I understand some of the reasons why there are checkpoints. It sounds like we have a border zone setup like Mexico’s Frontera area, where close proximity of the border is not checked as heavily (well the US is heavily checked. You can walk right into Mexico pretty much unchecked). That’s how I can easily take a lunch break and be back in half an hour when crossing into Mexico.

Basically, Mexicans can get what is called a, “Border Crossing Card” and it allows them to be able to move within 25 miles of the border. The inland border checkpoints appear to be the enforcement of that. I have seen vehicles with Mexican plates produce additional documentation at these checkpoints to be allowed to go further.

The border checkpoints also check for drugs and human smuggling. I know I have seen some things online questioning their Constitutionality. Honestly, it usually only takes a few minutes, unless traffic is backed up.

With that being said, it is weird that you do have to go through this pseudo-border crossing when you’re not even leaving or entering the country. It’s usually a fast experience, but sometimes being questioned about what you are doing, when you are doing nothing wrong, does make you a bit uneasy. I guess it’s a reality of being near the border. The crazy thing is, I bet a lot of people, including myself prior to moving to Texas, don’t even realize these exist!

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