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State of Vermont

House of Representatives

Montpelier, Vermont

Joint House Resolution

J.R.H.  5

Joint resolution in opposition to the establishment of a permanent border patrol checkpoint on Interstate 91 south of White River Junction

Offered by:  Representative Obuchowski of Rockingham

Whereas, the Department of Homeland Security’s Bureau of Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Border Patrol manages the United States Border Patrol (USBP) which is assigned the responsibility of preventing illegal aliens from entering the United States, and

Whereas, the areas between the United States’ border crossings have historically been the primary territory for USBP officers to apprehend illegal aliens and prevent them from entering the country, and

Whereas, beyond these border areas, officers from the USBP’s Swanton sector have for many years conducted occasional checkpoints along Interstate 91 as far south as in the White River Junction vicinity, and

Whereas, since December 2003, the White River checkpoint, currently operated from a mobile structure, has become a 24‑hour–per‑day, seven‑day‑a‑week operation, and

Whereas, the justification for this continuous checkpoint has been to stop terrorists who may have eluded officials at the border from proceeding any further into the country, and

Whereas, Leslie Lawson, representing the USBP’s Swanton sector, and citing the over 600 persons who have been taken into custody at the White River Junction temporary checkpoint during the last year, has requested that the Office of Border Patrol establish a permanent checkpoint at this location, and

Whereas, while the request will not be acted upon immediately, permanent highway signs are replacing the temporary ones that had been at the checkpoint to accommodate snowplows, and

Whereas, although the American Civil Liberties Union has stated, in response to inquiries, that the stops are legal, the organization has questioned the necessity of the permanent checkpoint, noting that the individuals being taken into custody are persons whose temporary or student visas have expired and not the dangerous terrorists that are now the USBP’s primary focus, and

Whereas, the USBP is not authorized to report whether any of the persons taken into custody at the White River Junction checkpoint have been individuals it views as threats to the nation’s security, and

Whereas, while traffic flow improvements have been implemented at the checkpoint in response to four traffic-related fatalities at a similar facility in New York State, there are still serious concerns regarding the safety implications of a permanent checkpoint on Interstate 91, and

Whereas, if the USBP receives specific intelligence that suspected terrorists may be infiltrating the country by way of I-91, it can always establish a temporary checkpoint not dissimilar to those the state police conduct during heavily traveled holiday periods, and

Whereas, at present, there is clear evidence that the checkpoint is not a major aid to apprehending terrorists, it inhibited severely normal traffic flow in the area, and it raised safety concerns for the motoring public, now therefore

be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

That the General Assembly urges the Office of Border Patrol not to establish a permanent checkpoint station along I-91 in the White River Junction vicinity, and be it further

Resolved:  That the secretary of state be directed to send a copy of this resolution to W. Ralph Basham, the Commissioner of the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection; David Aguilar, Assistant Commissioner of the Bureau of Customs for the United States Border Patrol; to Michael Chertoff, the Secretary of Homeland Security; and to the members of the Vermont Congressional Delegation.




____________________________              Attested to:

Gaye R. Symington

Speaker of the House


____________________________              ____________________________

Brian E. Dubie                                             Donald G. Milne

President of the Senate                               Clerk, House of Representatives



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont