We live as second-class citizens': what it's like to face border agents every day

The Guardian’s review of claims made against US Customs and Border Protection over the last dozen years shows cause for concern over unreasonable search and seizure. Article by Sarah Macaraeg. Photos by Juan Antonio Labreche/CJ Project

The moment that Jorge Rodriguez noticed five armed border patrol agents beginning to surround his car, his first instinct was to tell his 17-year-old cousin, in the passenger seat next to him, to pick up his hands and not make any sudden movements.

The pair, both US citizens, had been stopped on their way home from a movie at a checkpoint outside of Las Cruces, New Mexico, approximately 60 miles north of the border. The young men had already answered questions about their nationality and where they had been that evening.

They were not armed. The only problem was that Rodriguez, then aged 23, had refused to consent to a warrantless search of his family’s vehicle, citing the constitution.

“I was trying to show my cousin ... ‘You didn’t do anything wrong and you have rights,’” Rodriguez said. But wary of the officers’ hands on their holsters, he opted to concede, granting the inspection of his backseat.

“I’m aware of what this agency has gotten away with,” he said.  Continue reading