Although the Customs and Border Protection declined to speak over the phone for this story, they issued this statement to ABC/Univision:
"Border Patrol immigration checkpoints do not give Border Patrol Agents carte blanche to automatically search persons and their vehicles. In order to conduct a legal search under the Fourth Amendment, the agents must develop articulable probable cause to conduct a lawful search. Probable cause can be developed from agent observations, records checks, non-intrusive canine sniffs, and other established means. Motorists may also consent to a search, but are not required to do so."
The agency also noted that the number of people resisting has not increased in recent years.
"The majority of traveling Americans who pass through a Border Patrol Checkpoint are cooperative and are quickly on their way. There is no indication of an increase in refusal to cooperate."
However, Arizona resident Terri Bressi, the founder of CheckpointsUSA blog says the YouTube movement has grown rapidly in recent years. Bressi, who has documented checkpoint interactions around the country for more than a decade, says that the number of inland checkpoints have also grown rapidly as border patrol budgets have increased. According to Bressi's documentation, there are 30 permanent checkpoints in the Southwest, and more than 60 temporary "tactical checkpoints" that serve a similar purpose.
Although the checkpoint videos have gained a large following in recent weeks, a few have been removed by YouTube. Bressi says that three of his videos had been removed because "agents claimed my YouTube videos were putting them in danger and violating their privacy." YouTube did not respond to request for comment about the recent removal of the most popular compilation video, which garnered millions of views before it was removed from the site, citing a copyright claim.
"To my knowledge, none of the people whose videos were in that compilation complained about it," said Bressi, who says he's in contact with most of the active leaders in the YouTube movement. "My guess is that it's a border patrol agent or somebody else who doesn't appreciate individuals exercising their rights in this way, and making false claims about copyright."
While for some, the fight against inland CBP checks is solely about protecting constitutional rights, for others, the fight is about racial injustice as well. Bressi says that he's noticed in his travels that many of those who are pulled aside for further questioning look Hispanic.
"Most of the drivers of vehicles that are caught up in secondary are people with darker skin," Bressi noted. "It doesn't surprise me that there may be profile going on."
On Tuesday, Omar Figueredo and Nancy Morales, two American Latino graduate students at Cornell University, were detained for refusing to answer questions regarding their immigration status while boarding a U.S. flight in Texas.
Although the CBP did not respond to a request for comment before publishing, Figueredo, says he was charged with "failure to identify oneself" and "obstruction of a passageway," and Morales, says she was charged with "interference of public duties." The pair filmed the entirety of their interactions with the Border Patrol and uploaded them to UStream.
"I have not committed any crime, I have not committed any crime," Figueredo yelled during his arrest. Later, he said, he wanted to raise awareness of the alleged "constant surveillance" and "harassment" that Latinos face from the agency.
"Growing up along the Texas-Mexico border, I never knew that it wasn't normal to be constantly surveilled and regarded with suspicion. Harassment by the likes of the border patrol was considered common, everyday and normal," Figueredo said. "I want to challenge this and find out what is the real extent of our limited rights in the border regions and in all regions post-9/11"