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Donald Trump’s Plan To “Fire” Abraham Lincoln & Repeal Key Section Of 14th Amendment To U.S. Constitution

gboos | August 27, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

If the ghost of Abraham Lincoln visited you to ask about the state of the Republic, would you say, “The ideals for which you died remain uncontested – you may rest in peace”? Or would your honest nature compel you to tell the Great Emancipator’s shade about Donald Trump’s plan to deny American citizenship to children born in this country of undocumented parents? Would the phantom shed a tear when told that Trump does not stand alone; other Republican Presidential hopefuls have endorsed this idea too.

America has long been blessed with a principle of law called “birthright citizenship,” which establishes that all born within the United States are automatically citizens of the United States. As set out in 1868 by the Citizenship Clause of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, and affirmed in 1898 by the U.S. Supreme Court, birthright citizenship does not depend on considerations of descent or lineage such as the nationality or immigration status of one’s parents.

The 14th Amendment was proposed and ratified shortly after the Civil War to ensure that ideals over which the war was fought were incorporated as part of our nation’s fundamental principles of government. The 14th Amendment’s Citizenship Clause states, “All persons born in the United States . . . are citizens of the United States.” This clause erased the infamous Dred Scott decision of 1857, a U.S. Supreme Court case that denied U.S. citizenship to American-born children of slaves of African descent.

If doubts existed to whether birthright citizenship extended to the children of foreigners, they were laid to rest by an 1898 U.S. Supreme Court case concerning the status of Wong Kim Ark, a child born in the United States to Chinese immigrants. The then-existing Chinese Exclusion laws barred Chinese immigrants from becoming U.S. citizens. In a landmark decision, the United States Supreme Court unequivocally declared Wong Kim Ark to be a U.S. citizen, rejecting the argument that the immigration status of a U.S.-born child’s parents could limit the operation of the Citizenship Clause.

Although often taken for granted by Americans who have never had to live without its benefits, U.S. citizenship may be the most precious possession Americans hold. Only citizens enjoy the right to vote—perhaps the most basic of rights because it empowers its holders to choose their government. Trump would deny this and other fundamental rights such as equality under the law, due process, and economic opportunity to untold numbers of persons born in this country.

Trump hopes to ostracize the U.S.-born babies of undocumented residents of this country. These innocents have done nothing to violate U.S. laws. Rather, through no fault of their own, they have been born to the “wrong” parents. As generations of other U.S.-born persons with foreign-born parents have done before them, these U.S.-born children are likely to make the United States their permanent home. They will formulate ties to their communities and this country and strive to make them better places to live.

Sadly, Trump would deny these native-born children the priceless benefits associated with citizenship and introduce discriminatory principles into the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of individual liberties and even-handed application of the law. By denying U.S. citizenship to these children, Trump would create a permanent underclass of residents of this country. And because U.S.-born children of undocumented parents are predominately members of racial minorities, Trump’s attempt to make exceptions to the citizenship status of these children imperils the survival of our multicultural society by threatening to resurrect the racist policies announced in Dred Scott.

Make no doubt about it, if Lincoln were alive today he would oppose Trump’s mean-spirited attempt to circumvent the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of birthright citizenship. Honest Abe would be the first to ask Trump, “If you are successful in depriving American-born babies of constitutionally-granted citizenship, who will you seek to disenfranchise next?”

Greg Boos’ practice includes both acquisition and relinquishment of U.S. citizenship.

 

 


Greg Boos to speak on Renunciation/Relinquishment of U.S. Citizenship at MP Alex Atamanenkoko Feb 11, 2014 event in Castlegar BC

gboos | February 3, 2014 in expatriation,Greg Boos,relinquishment,renunciation,Uncategorized | Comments (0)

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January 24, 2014

Atamanenko Announces U.S. Tax Information Session for Canadians Affected by the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA)

Alex Atamanenko, MP BC Southern Interior, is sponsoring a public tax information session for Canadians considered to be “U.S. persons.” A panel of immigration and cross-border tax experts will address issues related to U.S. tax and the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA).

The Canadian government is in negotiations with the Americans on an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) to impose U. S. tax legislation (FATCA) on Canadian financial institutions. The agreement may require Canadian banks and other financial institutions to disclose information on accounts held by “U.S. persons” to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. Negotiations are being conducted in secret and raise concerns that the IGA could potentially violate Canadian privacy laws. Furthermore, the misinformation and secrecy around FATCA is causing a great deal of public anxiety and anger.

“Canadians fear for the security of their personal banking information and the security of their savings”, said Atamanenko. “It is my hope that by providing my constituents with professionals who can offer advice and address their questions and concerns, we may alleviate some of the anxiety and give them the means to make informed decisions”, added Atamanenko.

Murray Rankin, Official Opposition critic for National Revenue, expressed concern at the prospect of a foreign nation unilaterally imposing obligations on Canadian banks. “The Canadian government has a responsibility to protect Canada’s tax base, and while we understand the United States’ desire to protect their own tax base, this should not come at the cost of the rights of individuals residing in our own country,” stated Rankin.

The session is free, TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2014 from 7 – 9 PM at the Fireside Conference Centre, 1810 8th Avenue, Castlegar.

The Panelists:

Robert Clegg, JD, LL.M (U.S. Tax)
Senior U.S. Tax Manager – CanadAmerica Tax Services, Vancouver Island
U.S. Personal Taxation •U.S. Estate Tax Planning and Compliance for U.S. Citizens and Non-Residents•U.S. Corporate Taxation•U.S. & Canadian Expatriation Tax Planning

Aleksandr Isakov, BA, MS (U.S. Tax), CA, CPA
U.S. Tax Partner – CanadAmerica Tax Services, Kelowna
•U.S. Taxation •U.S. Real Estate Transactions •U.S. – Canada Tax Treaty

Greg Boos, Attorney at Law
U.S./Canada Immigration
Cascadia Cross-Border Law, Vancouver & Bellingham

Debbie Perepolkin CFP CPCA
Financial Advisor, Assante Wealth Management & Partner, The Affolter Financial Group Inc.

For more information contact the office of Alex Atamanenko at 250.365.2792 or 1.800.667.2393.


Greg Boos authors Amicus Brief for business organizations in major court challenge to expedited removal of Canadians

gboos | September 3, 2013 in Beyond the Border,border security,deportation,expedited removal,Greg Boos,Uncategorized,US Canada border,US Canada Trade Relationship | Comments (0)

The Pacific Corridor Enterprise Council (PACE), the Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce, the British Columbia Chamber of Commerce, and the Northwest Economic Council, organizations that advocate for the removal of barriers that impede the legitimate flow of people, goods and services across the U.S./Canadian Border, have jointly filed an Amicus Brief in a case pending before the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Greg Boos, Bellingham immigration attorney,  authored the brief, and represents the organizations in the appeal.

The case at bar raises the issue of whether a Canadian citizen seeking entry to the United States can be subject to “expedited removal” by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Currently, Canadians heading to the U.S. for business or tourism purposes face a border regime that empowers border guards, at their own discretion and without avenue for appeal, to bar Canadians entry to the U.S. for periods of five years or more under an “expedited removal” process. The appeal demands more accountability from CBP by highlighting the lack of proper and impartial review in expedited removal cases.

“This draconian regime flies in the face of open borders and Canada’s long-standing friendship and trading relationship with our neighbours to the south,” said John Winter, president and CEO of the BC Chamber of Commerce. “As our countries strive towards new levels of co-operation through the Beyond the Border Action Plan, these harsh border rules need to be fixed.”

Winter added that the border rules pose a particular threat to B.C. businesses.“If an overzealous U.S. border guard targets a B.C. CEO or other key company personnel for expedited removal, that company’s business with the U.S. risks grinding to a halt,” Winter said.

“Allowing CBP to make unreviewable determinations of admissibility into the U.S. invites abuse of discretion,” said Boos. “Immigration courts have been in existence for well over one-half century – they provide the due process of law in inadmissibility matters that is missed when expedited removal is used.”

The 9th Circuit case in which the Amicus Brief has been filed is John Smith v. United States Customs and Border Protection, et al, Case number 11-35556. It was argued on on August 26, 2013. The court is expected to issue a written decision within the next six to nine months.


Happy Birthday DACA!*

gboos | July 10, 2013 in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

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*Guest Op-ED by Heather Fathali, Legal Intern, Cascadia Cross-Border Law

Just over one year ago, on June 15th, 2012, the Obama administration implemented the DACA program, under which certain young people who came to the United States as children and meet other eligibility criteria will be granted temporary relief from deportation for a renewable period of two years.

To be eligible, an individual must have been (1) physically present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012, (2) without lawful status on June 15, 2012, and (3) under the age of 31 on June 15, 2012; (4) have arrived in the United States before turning 16; (5) have resided continuously in the United States since June 15, 2007; (6) be in school, have graduated from school or obtained a GED, or been honorably discharged from the U.S. military; and (7) have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

The population of eligible individuals is estimated exceed 1.7 million individuals; as of May 31st, 2013, nearly 540,000 individuals have applied.

In light of DACA’s first birthday, we take a look back the most exciting moments of its first year:

 June 15, 2012: DACA is born.

  • President Obama introduces DACA to the world in a speech from the Rose Garden.
  • The new policy is immediately implemented in pending immigration proceedings, and by ICE officers in the field.

 July 2012: Campaigns are underway nationwide to educate potential applicants about the process, benefits, and risks of seeking relief under DACA.

 August 15, 2012: USCIS began accepting DACA applications!

  • In addition to a $465 fee, the application consists of: Form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals; Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization; and the I-765 Worksheet.

 September 5, 2012- DREAMer Benita Veliz speaks at the Democratic National Convention.

  • Benita is the first ever undocumented immigrant to speak at any party convention.

 October 2012- In a series of interviews and presidential debates, presidential candidate Mitt Romney indicates he will discontinue DACA if elected.

 November 6, 2012- Election Day!

  • Latino voters make up 10% of the electorate, with over 70% voting Democrat.
  • President Obama is re-elected, securing DACA and reviving the bipartisan push for comprehensive immigration reform.

 December 14, 2012- In a poll of TIME Magazine’s readers, “Undocumented Immigrants” take third place as TIME’s “Person of the Year.”

 January 2013-

  • January 18- USCIS clarifies that although DACA does not confer a lawful immigration status, an individual will be considered lawfully present in the United States while their deferred action is in effect.
  • January 29- Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) introduces H.R. 435, the Military Enlistment Opportunity Act of 2013.

 The bill seeks to amend citizenship and residency qualifications for enlistment in the armed forces, including permitting the enlistment of DACA recipients.

 This would provide a path to citizenship for DACA recipients; under current law, any noncitizen may apply for naturalization after one year of military service.

 February 12, 2013- State of the Union Address

  • President Obama articulates his key principles for comprehensive immigration reform, including a pathway to citizenship.
  • He urges Congress to “[s]end me a comprehensive immigration reform bill in the next few months, and I will sign it right away.”

 March 2013- The battle begins in federal court over Arizona’s ban on driver’s licenses for DACA recipients.

 April 16, 2013- Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) introduces S.744, Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act

  • This is our pending immigration bill, now in its third version.

 May 2013- In the nearly one year since DACA began, 540,000 applications have been received!

 June 2013-

  • June 06- The House votes against funding for DACA in an amendment to the Department of Homeland Security spending bill. However, this effort is unlikely to become law, as it would have to pass a democratic Senate and be signed by the President—whose administration introduced the program.
  • June 15- One year ago today, DACA is born.
  • June 27- The Senate passes S.744, which includes both the DREAM Act, and a special provision for DACA recipients.

As comprehensive immigration reform continues to develop, it is clear that whatever is in store for the DACA program, it has already left a permanent mark in a positive way.

Over the past year, DACA has provided hope and secured change for the undocumented community; it has sparked bipartisan immigration reform efforts, and transformed the lives of hundreds of thousands of hard-working young people.

Happy birthday, DACA!


Canadian Home Ownership in U.S.

gboos | January 8, 2013 in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

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Canadians may purchase homes in the U.S. and spend substantial time residing in these homes by using the immigration provision for Visitors For Pleasure. This option is fast and easy for Canadians, as U.S. immigration law does not require Canadian citizens to submit advance applications to enter the U.S. as visitors for pleasure. The procedure followed is the same one that applies to Canadian shoppers headed to the U.S. for the weekend; i.e., qualified individuals merely drive to the border and, after they have answered the questions put to them by the Customs and Border Protection Officer stationed there, enter the U.S. without having to fill out any paperwork or pay a fee. Applicable rules are discussed in the following paragraphs.

To qualify for Visitor for Pleasure status, it is necessary to satisfy four criteria:

  • Residence abroad – Visitors for Pleasure must maintain a residence abroad. A person using this immigration option to spend time in a home owned in the U.S. should be prepared to show that the U.S. abode is a second residence and that a primary residence is maintained abroad and always available to the visitor, i.e. not rented out or otherwise occupied.
  • Less than six months spent in U.S. annually – Visitors for Pleasure visiting the U.S. from Canada should be prepared to establish their stay is temporary and that they spend less than six months annually in the U.S. The U.S. residence must be a second residence, not the primary residence.
  •  Means of support – Visitors for Pleasure may not work in the U.S. and may be required to show employment in Canada or other location outside the U.S., or possession of adequate financial resources, such as pension and other retirement assets, to guarantee that work will not be required to meet daily needs while in the U.S.
  • Not otherwise inadmissible -Visitors for Pleasure must not be inadmissible to the U.S. because of criminal history, alien smuggling, persecution of others, or other general bars to admission to the U.S. imposed by Congress.

Once a U.S. dwelling has been purchased, a Visitor for Pleasure may perform repairs upon the premises and otherwise maintain them by engaging in lawn mowing, tree and shrub planting, pruning, fence building and repairing, laying patios, walks, etc., only if the premises are to be occupied solely by himself, members of his family or nonpaying guests. If the dwelling is to be rented out, even for a short period of time, a U.S. worker must be hired to maintain the premises.

Expanded options for home ownership within the U.S. exist for Canadians who have obtained “work permits,” permanent resident (“green card”) status, or who are dual citizens through birth or naturalization in the U.S., or by birth in Canada to a U.S. citizen parent who may, under certain circumstances, have passed U.S. citizenship through to the Canadian-born child. These options are often complex and frequently require the assistance of a lawyer.

Our Americanlaw.com website contains more information on Visitor for Pleasure status at the following link.


Last Call: Doing Business in the USA Seminar – September 26th, 2012 – Richmond BC

gboos | September 21, 2012 in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

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The cross-border tax specialists at VSH, PLLC will host a seminar for Canadian businesses and their advisors entitled “Doing Business in the U.S.” on September 26th in Richmond, B.C.

Scott Railton (my colleague at Cascadia Cross-Border Law) will be speaking at this event. Scott will address immigration solutions for Canadians doing business in the United States.

My longtime friend Jim Pettinger, President of International Market Access, Inc. will also be one of the speakers. Jim has helped hundreds of businesses get started in the United States, and is routinely quoted in the media concerning cross-border matters.

The event will be an excellent opportunity to meet with experts to discuss the various challenges and strategies for doing business in the United States.

The seminar will be hosted at the Abercorn Inn in Richmond, BC. The seminar begins at 7:30 AM and will go until 10:30 AM. The cost is $25 (USD) and will include a buffet breakfast.

Participants can register online at this link: http://expandtotheus.eventbrite.com

Meanwhile, contact information for both Scott and myself follows:

Cascadia Cross-Border Law
1305 11th Street, Suite 301
Bellingham WA 98225

(360) 671-5945
676-5459
gdboos@americanlaw.com
srailton@americanlaw.com


Beyond the Border Action Plan: Suggestions for NEXUS Enhancements

gboos | January 25, 2012 in Beyond the Border,border security,Nexus,Uncategorized,US Canada border,US Canada Trade Relationship,US Immigration | Comments (0)

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U.S. President Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Harper have sanctioned an ongoing discussion to remove barriers that impede the legitimate flow of people, goods and services across the Canada/USA border. To this end, in December of 2011, the two countries issued a document called the BEYOND THE BORDER Action Plan (the “Plan”). Among many ambitious proposals, the Plan calls for NEXUS enhancement.

By separating NEXUS enrollees from the rest of the traveling public, NEXUS enables Canadian and U.S. border authorities to concentrate their efforts on potentially high-risk travelers and goods, thereby enhancing border security. It also allows frequent border crossers to enjoy predictable and timely border-crossings. This blog urges that the Plan’s NEXUS enhancements include the following:

  • Retreat from NEXUS’ Zero Tolerance enrollment policy that denies NEXUS benefits to persons with criminal convictions for minor violations of the law, no matter how old. A waiver of ineligibity for FAST enrollment is available to qualifying truck drivers with minor convictions. There is no sound reason why such benefit should be denied NEXUS applicants.
  • Establishment of an appeals process by the U.S. (Canada already has such a process) for NEXUS denials and revocations. NEXUS has matured since its establishment in 2001 as part of the Smart Border accord, and due process protections need to be built into its application and revocation procedures. A Smart Border is incomplete without such safeguards.

NEXUS attempts to strike a balance between national security and economic security, but the application of zero-tolerance program eligibility rules combined with the lack of an appeals mechanism for those denied NEXUS program benefits shows little regard for personal security. To date, NEXUS procedures have left individual rights subject to the whim of institutional expediency.

The Plan also indicates that the U.S. and Canada will implement a joint marketing plan for NEXUS. To this end, this blog suggests that NEXUS enrollees be able to opt-in for NEXUS e-mail updates through which participants receive updated information regarding additions and deletions of prohibited food items, changes in NEXUS hours, addition of NEXUS lanes at various Ports of Entry, and periodic reminders of NEXUS rules.

NEXUS has proven itself at land- border crossings and airports. This blog suggests NEXUS documented passengers receive priority boarding benefits when boarding US destined cruise ships or AMTRAC at Vancouver BC.

Greg Boos blogs from his office in Bellingham WA and his home in Vancouver BC. Please contact Greg the following address should you desire assistance on a US immigration matter:

Greg Boos, Attorney at Law
Cascadia Cross-Border Law
1305 11th Street, Suite 301
Bellingham WA 98225
CascadiaImmigrationLaw.com
360/671-5945
gdboos@americanlaw.com

At Cascadia Cross-Border Law, we create transparent borders!


Doing Business in USA Seminar Scheduled for November 3 in Delta BC

gboos | September 28, 2011 in Uncategorized,US Canada Trade Relationship,US Immigration | Comments (0)

September 28, 2011

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Seminar offers guidelines for USA sales, shipping and business transactions

A group of veteran Canada/USA and international trade professionals will provide practical guidelines to British Columbia entrepreneurs and professionals at an upcoming seminar entitled, Doing Business in the USA. This one-day seminar is designed to give Canadian manufacturers, importers, distributors, agents and other business professionals the tools they need to easily expand their business interests across the border. Key topics include:

1. Dealing with “border issues”, such as U.S. travel and immigration planning, U.S. Customs clearance, business planning, taxation, currency exchange, and legal considerations.

2. Understanding “logistics issues”, such as establishing a USA business identity, warehousing,
transportation, fulfillment, and handling of returned goods.

3. Introduction to “importing” lower-cost goods into the USA that have been “outsourced” or purchased in Asia, Europe and elsewhere.

4. “Sales/marketing strategies”, including market overview, sales/marketing fundamentals, lessons and pitfalls.

5. “Money, Money, Money!”, a lively open forum (with guest “experts”) to discuss various related topics of interest to the audience.

6. “Resource introductions”, including the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service, which provides federal government programs and services at home and abroad.

The Doing Business in the USA seminar has welcomed over 4,000 attendees at various locations in BC since 1997. The main motivation for attendance by BC entrepreneurs hasn’t changed, namely the extra profit opportunity offered by a huge and affluent market of over 300 million buyers that is very receptive to foreign goods.

According to seminar organizer, Jim Pettinger, “Now is a great time for a Canadian company to invest in expansion to the USA. The strong Loonie will buy 20 to 50 percent more marketing services than it has in years (e.g., tradeshows, travel, hotel rooms, advertising).

The Doing Business in the USA seminar is targeted at three groups: (1) new exporters to the USA who need to know the basics, (2) new or inexperienced staff members of current exporters to the USA, and (3) professionals who advise the previous two. Plenty of time during the day is available for one-on-one and “round-table” meetings with the various resource people in attendance.

The Doing Business in the USA seminar will be held on Thursday, November 3, 2011, at the Delta Town and Country Inn, 6005 Highway 17 (at Highway 99), Delta, BC, BC from 8:30am to 4:30pm. Cost for the seminar is $195 pre-registered or $225 at the door ($145 each for 2 or more, and $25 further discount for registration before October 28). Also available is a special “after lunch only” rate of $75. For more information contact Carol Jackson at 1-800-799-8848 or visit www.UCanTrade.com

Greg Boos will be speaking at the event.

Greg Boos blogs from his office in Bellingham WA and his home in Vancouver BC. Please contact Greg the following address should you desire assistance on a US immigration matter:

Greg Boos, Attorney at Law
Cascadia Cross-Border Law
1305 11th Street, Suite 301
Bellingham WA 98225
CascadiaImmigrationLaw.com
360/671-5945
gdboos@americanlaw.com

At Cascadia Cross-Border Law, we create transparent borders!


Security at its worst: U.S. citizens deported from their own country

gboos | September 15, 2011 in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

U.S. citizens are being deported from the United States. Does this sound counterintuitive? It should. That’s because it is illegal for the U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement (ICE) agency to detain or deport a U.S. citizen for an alleged immigration violation. Unfortunately, neither lack of jurisdiction nor illegality has prevented the deportation of U.S. citizens.

According to the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, more than 392,000 illegal immigrants were deported from the United States in the fiscal year 2010. Unfortunately, the U.S. government does not keep track of wrongful deportations, thus it is impossible to know exactly how more in addition to the 392,000 were wrongly deported.

Despite its unwillingness to record wrongful deportations, reports have surfaced to indicate that wrongful deportations are a growing and harmful practice within the United States’ immigration bureaucracy.

In 2007, for example, Pedro Guzman, a mentally challenged U.S. citizen was deported to Tijuana, Mexico. Guzman was picked up near his home in Lancaster, California by Los Angeles County sheriff’s officers on a misdemeanor charge of trespassing. According to police reports, Guzman tried repeatedly to board a private jet. Despite Mr. Guzman’s diminished capacity, the Sheriff’s department handed him over to ICE who subsequently ordered his deportation. While in Mexico, Guzman survived on discarded food and river water. He was found three months later trying to cross the border in Calexico, MX, 100 miles from his drop-off location. The incident has left him severely traumatized.

In 2009 the U.S. government admitted that it wrongly deported a North Carolina native, despite FBI records and other evidence showing that the man was a United States citizen.
Eduardo Caraballo, a U.S. citizen born in the United States, was detained for over three days on suspicion of being an illegal immigrant.
Luis Alberto Delgado was detained and questioned in 2010 for over eight hours before his deportation to Matamoros, Mexico. Delgado was carrying his American birth certificate, Social Security card and Texas ID at the time he was detained. He was readmitted three months after his deportation.

It should be noted that wrongful deportations are relatively few compared to the number of “illegal” immigrants who are expelled from the U.S. each year. However, the trend is alarming because it is indicative of an overwhelmed and increasingly militarized immigration system in the U.S.

Until a designated agency begins tracking wrongful deportations, such grievances will likely be treated with minimal attention. And as State immigration laws grow increasingly hostile, the threat of more “accidental” deportations is increasingly real.


Border Patrol Infringement of Wayne Groen’s Civil Rights Lead to Groen’s Conviction

gboos | August 1, 2011 in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

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Section 101 of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 sets forth the primary mission of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its related agencies. The Act requires that DHS not diminish the civil rights and civil liberties of persons by the efforts, activities and programs it employs to secure the United States against the threat of terror. It also requires that the overall economic security of the United States is not diminished by such actions.

The importance of these provisions cannot be overstated. They are two among eight general guidelines set forth in the Act. Yet, despite their deliberate placement and apparent importance, agency adherence along the northern border has proven to be ambiguous at best.

A recent incident involving a Lynden, WA, resident highlights the dilemma caused by these conflicting policies. Wayne Groen was indicted in January on one count of interfering with an aircraft’s operation and one count of incapacitating a person operating an aircraft. The charges carry penalties of up to 40 years in prison.

The incident occurred when a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) Blackhawk helicopter allegedly flew close to Groen’s home during a night mission causing his entire house to shake. Groen reacted by shining a high-powered flashlight at the cockpit, temporarily blinding the pilot who was wearing night vision goggles at the time. Agents on the ground arrested Groen shortly thereafter. Groen was convicted on the second count and faces up to 20 years in prison.

Many residents along the Northern border are angered by the arrest and consider CBP’s incursions as an infringement on their private property rights.

Neighboring property owners are reporting similar low flying night missions. These missions cause trouble with their dairy operations, and infringe upon the quiet use of their property. Some have even begun to chain and lock their gates to keep border agents from speeding across their property and conducting what they feel is unwarranted surveillance. They argue that DHS is treating the northern border like the southern border and that DHS is harassing local residents as a result.

The anger caused by Groen’s conviction is now being directed at the agencies, and concerned citizens have begun to question border tactics and results. One resident asked how many terrorists had been apprehended in relation to the number of flight hours logged; a CBP representative stated that in the 2500 flight hours logged last year, zero suspects had been apprehended.

Yet Wayne Groen, a law abiding citizen and longtime resident of Lynden, faces up to 20 years in prison because an unlit Blackhawk helicopter flew so close to his home that his belongings were thrown from their shelves. This raises the question: should CBP be allowed to violate a U.S. citizen’s civil rights including his right to enjoy his home in the exercise of a specific mission that has produced zero suspects over the previous year? For many residents living along the northern border the answer is no. Perhaps it’s time for DHS to reexamine its protocol and begin working with, not against the citizens it purports to protect.