ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Last week, a middle school teacher from Southern California was detained at a Border Patrol checkpoint in New Mexico after refusing to answer agents’ questions.
Agent: “Are you a United State’s Citizen?”
Parmley: “Are we crossing a border?”
Agent: “Are you United States citizen?”
Parmley: “I’ve never been asked that before when I’m traveling down the road.”
Shane Parmley and her two children were detained when Parmley would not answer the above question. She says she did it to defend her friends.
“It made me sick to be asked, knowing what my friends have been through. It just made me physically ill,” said Parmley.
Parmley says her friends who are Hispanic receive worse treatment from Border Patrol.
“They do more than ask that I’m a citizen. They will ask where my kids go to school, they’ll ask what grades they’re in. They’ll ask what type of job I have,” said Gretel Rodriquez, Parmley’s friend.
The Border Patrol is legally allowed to set up check points within 100 miles of the U.S. and Mexico border. The Border Patrol issued the following statement regarding the incident:
Border Patrol checkpoints are a critical tool for the enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws. At a Border Patrol checkpoint, an agent may question a vehicle’s occupants about their citizenship, place of birth, and request document proof of immigration status, how legal status was obtained and make quick observations of what is in plain view in the interior of the vehicle. During the course of the immigration inspection, if an occupant refuses to answer an agent’s questions, the agent may detain the driver for a reasonable amount of time until he or she can make a determination regarding the occupant’s immigration status. It is agency policy that all individuals with whom we interact are treated with dignity and respect.
KRQE News 13 spoke with the ACLU of New Mexico. The executive director, Peter Simonson, says the officers did not do anything they weren’t allowed to in the video. Simonson also says Parmley reacted within her constitutional rights.
“She responded in a way that is perfectly protected by the Bill of Rights, she has the right to remain silent. That doesn’t mean she might not be detained by CPB,” said Simonson.
Parmley posted all of the videos to her Facebook page.