Wednesday, January 7, 2009


This is old news but it is too good to let disappear without a trace. Speaking at a Senate hearing on homeland security (sic) last March, Senator Patrick Leahy offered this ignored testimony:

Senator Leahy
- DHS established a temporary checkpoint on I-91 in Hartford, Vt. from Dec 2003 -May 2005. I'd wondered how you can spend that kind of money so far from the border. Even people like former Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich said this is unnecessary government intrusion. If it made us safer it would be one thing, but of course there are about 20 parallel two-laned roads that go down there. And the checkpoint picked up a couple lazy people with drugs. But mostly it just ticked off everybody.

So I'd asked about that at my last hearing because we had heard that the department was quietly conducting a feasibility study to see whether it would build a permanent checkpoint there - a hundred miles from the border. . .

I'm worried only because we don't have the adequate number of people on the border. We sometimes have hours, hours wait, just for tourist to go across the border. And of course it will get worse once it starts to require more paperwork. Many of the lanes aren't open, we are short of people there. But somehow we can put symbolic checkpoints 100 miles from the border.

It's interesting - I went through one of those symbolic checkpoints in the state of New York driving back here. It was about 125 miles from the border. In a car with license plate on it from Vermont. With little letters underneath it that said US Senate. We were stopped and ordered to get out of the car and prove my citizenship. And I said "what authority are you acting under?" and one of your agents pointed to his gun and said "that's all the authority I need." Encouraging way to enter our country.


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