12 late model unmarked cars and SUV's, filled with agents from Customs, Border Patrol, ATF, FBI , and DEA quietly entered the main gate of a Santa Cruz County, AZ ranch belonging to the family of TustonDAZ, a liberal blogger who writes "diaries" at Daily Kos, and is a sometime Guest Poster at Liberal Street Fighter
Heavily armed with semi auto side arms, fully automatic carbines and "flak" jackets the 15 DHS agents and two canines came in search of a large stash of undefined "contraband" as part of there normal investigative procedures spurred on by an "anonymous" tip.
Cross posted at Liberal Street Fighter
The agents were able to completely surprise the suspects, and effectively surrounded them as they appeared to be making furniture in the large woodworking shop.
All individuals present were checked for proper ID, and searched for weapons/undefined contraband.
A thorough search of the property, including the various houses, the workshop, the stable, and the barn failed to turn up any evidence, and the Agents left without making any arrests or confiscating any contraband.
Link?! There is no link because although I've put it into fictional "news story" form, it is a real occurrence that has happened to my family, our employees and tenants twice, the latest time occurring about three months ago. When the Real ID Act passes next week, everybody in America, be they citizen, or immigrant, near Mexico or any "border region" (uh...like the coasts?), will face the possibility of the same kind of treatment at the hands of DHS. Actually that's not true, it will be worse. Currently, I can't be arrested without some evidence, after Real ID, it isn't entirely clear that they can't just arrest me and hold me indefinitely.
"Well, they must have had some reason to suspect you something, otherwise they wouldn't have raided" the terminally stupid and brainwashed lemming might say. Nothing could be further from the truth. The first raid happened after I was warned by a local politico to re-open a road that runs across the ranch, or be ready for "trouble" after I refused to re-open it only to the developers and the richest of their clientele. That first raid happened the next day. The second one happened just recently, and the cause this time was a relative of one of our employees was suspected of smuggling. The DHS came to search our place after trying at the relatives house, then our employees, then their mother's, then another unrelated suspects trailer, before finally deciding it was worthwhile to roust our ranch. I think they probably stayed as long as they did because I spent the entire time cursing the guy in charge in my best "gutter" Spanish, porque son pendijos perujos fascistas que estan tratando a matar nuestro pueblo y todo el mundo...
I bring this atrocious anecdote to your attention because the Real ID rider will expand these tactics, (and worse), to beyond the immediate Mexico Border Region...
But don't take my word for it, see what they're saying at Tapped
THE RETURN OF THE MURDER-AT-WILL PROVISION. You remember the provision attached to the Real ID bill back in February that would have given Michael Chertoff carte blanche to "waive all laws" in the name of border security? It's back in the $82 million Iraq supplemental bill, but it's not quite as bad as it was in its original form. The key differences:
* Instead of giving the Secretary of Homeland Security "the authority to waive ... all laws," it just gives him "the authority to waive all legal requirements." (Emphases added.)
* Instead of requiring him to grant such a waiver, it only allows him that option.
* District courts now can review an alleged "violation of the Constitution" arising from this authority, but only if the claim is filed within 60 days of DHS' "action or decision."
Oh well it is nice that they mellowed out the house version a little, but wait the severely sanguine Jeffrey Dubner has more: (BTW, and FWIW, Jeff (and Sam), if you read this, I think you guysare doing a good job on covering the Real ID rider but how about upping the coverage and outrage meter a little? We all know if you give a yard they'll take a mile)
this still applies to all border areas, and not just Smuggler's Gulch (as Sam predicted, this survived conference). And I wonder if the 60-day window for filing suit would foreclose even most constitutional challenges -- if the window opens only when DHS' files its intention in the Federal Register, then it would be pretty easy for the department to simply wait 60 days before carrying out its plans and hope nobody picks up on the original notice. If that's the case, then many challenges would fail even if they were brought in time, as it would be hard for a petitioner to show anything but hypothetical harm.
What I would like to add, and I covered more extensively last weekend at LSF, are the provisions for "bounty hunters" to pick up the "slack" from DHS:
The Loony Moonie Times/UPI
Washington, DC, May. 2 (UPI) -- Immigration lobbies are protesting a proposed bill that they say would suspend the constitutional right to habeas corpus for the first time since the Civil War.
Critics say the Real ID act, which is supported by the Bush administration, would permit the Department of Homeland Security to deport immigrants without basic protections against illegal deportation. The act, they say, would also allow the department to police borders without regard to domestic labor, environmental and other laws.
Please everyone who reads this, take a moment to write an email/letter/ or make a phone call to your Senators to kill this Rider. As of now the deal is made(click for fresher post) but there are quite a few ruffled feathers on the right about this, and if Dems push they could very well achieve a bi-partisan consensus (real conservatives abhor this shyte) and this hellish rider can be killed before it kills what is left of our democracy...