Profiled by Border Patrol: Works For Me

Every time I return home from a trip to El Paso or Las Cruces, it happens.  I’m profiled.  You see, there are border patrol checkpoints just outside of Alamogordo, NM, the place where I call home.  Set up to stop the flow of illegal aliens and illegal drugs into our country, all vehicular traffic traveling north on U.S. 54 from El Paso or East on U.S. 70 from Las Cruces must stop at these checkpoint.  No exceptions.

While these roads are not as heavily traveled as some others in the U.S., there are enough vehicles that have to stop at these two checkpoints to create a long wait for cars to pass through.  However, the wait is hardly ever more than a few minutes. 

You might be surprised at how efficiently the Border Patrol Agents are able to keep traffic flowing.  Almost every time that I stop at the checkpoint, I am asked if I am an American citizen.  My standard answer is  a simple “yes.”  I do not have to show my drivers license or any other identification, which would obviously slow down the process.  I am the waived on through.

The last time I stopped at the checkpoint a few weeks ago after returning home from picking my brother-in-law up from the hospital in Las Cruces, I was not even asked any questions.  The Border Patrol Agent looked in my minivan, saw my mother-in-law in the back seat and my brother-in-law in the front seat, and motioned with his hand to keep on moving.  That was easy.  Why?

Because I, like every other driver who stops at the Border Patrol checkpoints, was profiled.  My race, while not the only component of the profile, is certainly included in the mix.  And, I’m glad that it is.  Otherwise, the line of cars and trucks would be backed up for miles and it would take hours, not minutes, to pass through the checkpoints. 

I don’t know what factors make up the profile of a person trying to smuggle illegals — aliens or drugs — into the country, but I’m quite sure that the Border Patrol Agents are well-trained in what characteristics to look for.  That’s why they have been successful at interdicting illegal aliens and illegal drugs.  You see, a little common sense goes a long way.

Which brings me to the complete lack of common sense found in our nation’s airports.  The Transportation Security Administration continues its heavy-handed and inefficient approach to airport security.  Because of their glaring failure that allowed the “underwear bomber” to get on a plane on Christmas Day, the TSA now wants to have every passenger be subjected to a “naked” body scanner or an invasive pat down.

However, instead of having some passengers go through extra screening, all passengers will go though this extra screening.  There will be no exceptions, even for religious reasons.  Do we really need to pat down Catholic nuns who are boarding an airplane?  I mean, if Catholic nuns fit the profile of folks who would blow up planes, then I could see that.  But, funny thing is, I haven’t heard of any radicalized Catholic nuns flying planes into buildings anytime in the recent past ever!

Who flies planes into buildings?  Who blows up subways?  Who hides bombs in their underwear?  These questions are not hard to answer.  But, according to a recent editorial in the Washington Times, TSA’s enhanced security measures stem from the Obama administration’s failure to recognize that we have a problem with radical Islam.

The Transportation Security Administration’s demeaning new “enhanced pat-down” procedures are a direct result of the Obama administration’s willful blindness to the threat from Islamic radicals. While better tools are available to keep air travelers safe, they would involve recognizing the threat for what it is, which is something the White House will never do. (full article here)

Why does this Administration seem so blind to the threat that radical Islam poses to this country?  Why are Americans subjected to intrusive scanners or pat downs when better security screening is available?  And, before some get all wound up, I do not think that every Muslim or Middle Eastern-looking person should automatically be subjected to additional security just as every Hispanic-looking person is not subjected to enhanced security at Border Patrol checkpoints.

I am not concerned with the Muslim family of four who are carrying Disney World bags onto the plane in Orlando.  I am concerned about a young, Middle Eastern man whose flight originated in a radicalized country (i.e., Yemen), who is improperly dressed for the time of year and who is acting suspicious.  Why can’t our TSA agents be trained to profile high-risk passengers who are attempting to board a plane?  Why must 70 year old nuns be subjected to an invasive pat down or “naked” body scan?  It is simply absurd and most people know it.  That’s why more and more Americans are beginning to rebel against these insane “security” procedures, even calling for an opt-out day on one of the busiest travel days of the year.

But, this is the world that we live in.  Unless effective, efficient common sense rules are restored to our nation’s airport security, people will continue to opt out of flying.  I’m so glad that, as of now, common sense profiling is being practiced at our Border Patrol checkpoints.  If the TSA’s non-sensical rules were to take hold at the various highway checkpoints throughout the country, then folks might also opt out of driving.  Just one more way the Obama Administration can help restore the economy!

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About Howell Scott

I have been a Southern Baptist pastor for the last fourteen years. Before entering the ministry, I was a practicing attorney in my homestate of Florida. I have been married to my wife, Brenda, for 18 years and we have three sons, Stephen, Jacob, and Andrew.
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9 Responses to Profiled by Border Patrol: Works For Me

  1. Daniel says:

    I agree 100%, until some time in the future when the child of a terrorist couple that was born in our country and is US citizen decides to follow his parent’s terrorist ways.

    • Howell Scott says:

      Daniel,

      Thanks for reading and commenting. I’m not quite sure if you are saying that we need to always give folks with certain backgrounds enhanced screening, even if they are American citizens or something else. I think that we use the best available data to profile those who are most likely to be terrorist threats. The profiles will not always be 100% accurate, but that does not mean that we do not use them. If the Border Patrol can be effective, then I think TSA can be as well. I’m sure that the factors involved in a profile are always in flux, based on new information. If children start strapping bombs onto themselves, then I think that we modify the profile. But, we must use some common sense in the equation. Thanks again for stopping by. God bless,

      Howell

  2. The FBI has Profilers, and so does TV. The police aren’t supposed to?

    • Howell Scott says:

      Bob,

      Criminal Minds is one of our favorite shows that my wife and I watch. I was tempted to use that reference in the post, but didn’t. If law enforcement did not use profiles — which do include race as one factor — then I don’t know how they would ever track down criminals. This is common sense stuff which so often eludes the elites in Washington. Thanks for the comment. God bless,

      Howell

  3. Stephen Fox says:

    I discuss the larger picture or take notice of it at my blog. Click over and consider the resource I name there on the Politics of Austerity.

  4. Katie says:

    Howell,

    I just read an Op-Ed in the Washington Post. Looks like Charles Krauthammer agrees with you 100%!
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/18/AR2010111804494.html?wpisrc=nl_opinions

    • Howell Scott says:

      Katie,

      Thanks for stopping by again. Hope things are going well for you on the field where you are serving. Please know that our church, along with countless others, are supporting you and the thousands of others serving throughout the world. As the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions fast approaches, we will continue to support our missionaries on the field. I hope you and your family have a very Happy Thanksgiving and a Blessed Christmas!

      I know that wasn’t what you commented on, but I wanted to share that with you while I had the chance. I have not read Krauthammer’s articile yet, although I usually get around to it on Friday. I saw the headline of his Op-Ed, thankfully after I had written my piece. He is such a good writer that I would not want to “borrow” from him. It is interesting that lots of folks are thinking the same thing on this. It’s amazing what happens when people use common sense. Thanks again for taking the time out of your ministry schedule to share that link. I truly appreciate it. God bless,

      Howell

  5. Katie says:

    Hi Howell,

    Thanks for the well-wishes! We are extremely grateful for the support (prayer, financial, affirmation and encouragement) that Southern Baptists generously provide, especially at this time of year through the Lottie Moon Christmas offering. Southern Baptists’ great strength is that we are serious about the Great Commission and we have a cooperative approach for taking the gospel to the millions who are without God and without hope in this world. We can do so much more together than we can do separately; may we never lose sight of that fact!

    I also wish you, your family and church a Happy Thanksgiving and very Merry Christmas!

    Katie

  6. Pingback: All Air Travelers Presumed Terrorists! | From Law to Grace

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