A federal magistrate has paved the way for Border Patrol details to be released to the public.
A request by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to access the records about the location of checkpoints was reasonable, according to Magistrate Bernado Velasco.
Other information that the patrol has not released includes the nationality and skin color of those who are stopped at checkpoints and how accurate agents' dogs are at detecting smuggled drugs, according to a news report.
ACLU filed a lawsuit after Derek and Jane Bambauer claimed that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has not responded appropriately to a Freedom of Information Act request.
"The incidence of civil rights violations associated with Border Patrol’s interior enforcement operations, which include interior checkpoints and ‘roving patrol’ stops, is a matter of pressing public concern,’’ the ACLU wrote in the court filing.
The court document also says that the reports of Border Patrol abuses in the Arizona-Sonora region have been increasing.
“Plaintiffs seek the requested records in order to shed light on Border Patrol’s extensive but largely opaque interior enforcement operations," the ACLU wrote.
Lawyers for DHS argued that releasing details on the techniques or procedures could cause some to evade the law.
However, Velasco responded by saying that the locations of checkpoints cannot be kept a secret because of cell phones, drones and other intrusive devices.
“Government transparency is critical to maintaining a functional democratic polity, where the people have the information needed to check public corruption, hold government leaders accountable, and elect leaders who will carry out their preferred policies,’’ Velasco wrote in his decision.
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