I earlier posted an article about the US Border Patrol stopping passengers coming into Anacortes on domestic ferries to ask them to prove their immigration status before they can continue. I am on record as being strongly opposed to law enforcement systematically stopping large numbers of innocent citizens without reasonable cause to do so.

I am not opposed to the Border Patrol finding people who do not belong in the country and lawfully removing them. That is their job. I am opposed to them blocking a state highway and investigating everyone without cause.

I am also not particularly pleased with the fact they are telling us that they are actively investigating persons who are sneaking illegal liquor and drugs through the San Juan Islands, as well as saying that they are looking for suspected terrorists, in describing an action which is clearly one of finding immigrants not entitled to be in the US. Am I supposed to believe them the next time they say they are trying to catch a terrorist? My Mom always told me about the negative implications of “crying wolf”.

But enough of that. My point today is that the actions of the Border patrol have taken another turn. According to today’s Seattle Times, the Border Patrol is now asking individual WSF employees to “provide intelligence” to him if he sees anyone Hispanic going past.

I have no problem, and expect it to be the case, that law enforcement might ask all ferry employees to be on the lookout for a particular person who has committed a crime (i.e. “Be on the lookout for a guy who robbed the bank in Friday Harbor” or something like that). I just don’t see it as the job of WSF employees or bus drivers or anyone else in similar roles to be trying to dig up “intelligence” on the people they come into contact with.

The role of transportation workers is to transport people. Certainly, these people are in a position to see and report potential crimes. It is appropriate to do so. But for law enforcement to ask individuals to act as their detectives seems to be inappropriate. I doubt this type of action is official WSF policy. And I doubt that too many transportation workers are eager to take on this role. And, I would worry about the motives of those who are eager to take on this role.