A San Diego teacher and her children was detained for more than an hour at a Border Patrol checkpoint in New Mexico after refusing to answer agents questions about her citizenship.
Shane Parmely posted a series of videos from the incident on Facebook on July 21, which have since gone viral, with some praising her actions as a protest of unjust practices by the Border Patrol and others calling her a traitor, un-American and and entitled, law-breaking liberal.
Parmely is an English learner support teacher with the San Diego Unified School District, according to her Linkedin profile.
You can watch the videos of her interactions with the Border Patrol agents below:
Parmely can be seen in the video being stopped at the checkpoint and asked by an agent if she and her children are citizens. She asks the agent if they are crossing a border, and he says no. She then asks why she is being questioned about her citizenship and refuses to answer. The agent then says she is being detained for an immigration inspection.
“You are required to answer an immigration question,” the agent tells her. “You are not required to answer any other questions.”
Parmely responds, “So if I just come through and say, ‘Yes, I’m a citizen,’ I can just go ahead”
The agent said that if the agent is justified by the answer, he or she can allow the person to continue.
“So if I have an accent, and I’m brown, can I just say, ‘Yes,’ and go ahead or do I have to prove it?” she asked. “I have a bunch of teacher friends who are sick of their kids being discriminated against.”
The videos were filmed at a checkpoint several miles from the U.S.-Mexico border. Parmely said the checkpoint was on Interstate 10 west, past El Paso before Demming, New Mexico. A Supreme Court ruling found that Border Patrol agents are allowed to have checkpoints within 100 miles of the border and to ask questions about citizenship without warrants. The agents are allowed to detain a person at the checkpoint for only the time necessary for the person’s citizenship to be determined.
Parmely also posted another video on July 23 that she forgot to post on Friday.
“Turns out 2 other cars also refused to answer and were detained that day. We only saw brown people get asked to show papers,” she wrote in the caption of that video, which you can watch below:
In another post she wrote, “Basically, make sure you have a full tank of gas to keep your air conditioner running, some water and some snacks. I also recommend a pillow cuz this was a great place to take a nap. And they do have bathrooms in the cells where they hold people when they pull them out of their cars (my son got to use it).”
In a statement to the San Diego Union-Tribune, Border Patrol spokesman Mark Endicott said:
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.