We’ll Enforce The Law, But We Don’t Know What It Is

This is an a noteworthy story about a man who refused to answer the Border patrol agents’ questions about the details of his overseas trip, and was held for 90 minutes as he spoke to various officials. His refusal to answer questions is perfectly legal–absent reason to arrest or otherwise interrogate him in relation to some crime, a US Citizen has an unconditional right to reenter the US. Note that he did make an adequate customs declaration, without false statements, and allowed them to perform all searches they asked to do.

There’s a lot of points that can be said, but one lesson fits with what we already know–an enormous number of law enforcement officers do not know what they need to about citizens’ rights. This is amply demonstrated every time a citizen or journalist is arrested for exercising their right to record the police.* While I vacillate on whether Lucaks’ action was worthwhile, that it pressures law-enforcement to learn about their legal responsibilities can only be a good thing. It is simply unacceptable for law-enforcement officers to be ignorant in this fashion.

* Just in case you want legal advice, there is a patchwork of local and state laws. In some places, many forms of recording may be illegal. But in a majority of places, it is legal and there are hundreds, if not-thousands of arrests for citizens exercising their rights to record police in jurisdictions that allow them to do so.

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