News Releases

 Amendment helps protect the privacy and property rights of millions of Americans near the Northern Border 

Makes significant progress in addressing the broad border zones where federal officers may stop vehicles and enter private land without warrants

(Washington, D.C.) – Today the Senate voted to support a package of changes to the comprehensive immigration reform legislation, which included an amendment authored by U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT).  This amendment requires federal officers to stay within 10 miles of the U.S.-Canada international border when entering private property without warrant and within 25 miles of the border when conducting vehicle stops. Currently, federal agents from Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) may enter private land without a warrant within 25 miles of any international boundary and stop vehicles subjectively within 100 miles of any external boundary – which includes cities and towns such as Everett, North Seattle, and others not near the border.  This amendment ensures our border patrol has the tools they need to stop smuggling and organized crime while providing important protections to communities near the northern border in Washington state and across America.

“This amendment injects common sense reforms that are badly needed, helps law enforcement focus on real issues and threats at our border, and protects Washingtonians’ civil rights.” said Senator Murray. For years the border patrol has set up checkpoints that disrupt commerce and hassle residents. This amendment provides our federal officers the tools they need to keep our border safe while also focusing our Custom and Border Patrol agents on their mission near the border.”

“The wide latitude in current law for setting up checkpoints far from our borders has led to maximum hassles of law-abiding local residents, with minimal value to border enforcement,” said Senator Leahy.  “In Vermont it is easy for anyone who crossed the border 100 miles back to avoid these checkpoints simply by using any of the many other roads that bypass the checkpoints.  This is an intrusive practice for local residents, subjecting Vermonters to needless and pointless delays and questioning.  It simply is not a productive use of border enforcement dollars.  The wide leeway for crossing private property without permission or warrants is also excessive, and it should be limited.”

The Senate continues to debate the comprehensive immigration reform bill.