Public Safety director claims illegal checkpoints are a response to “various criminal activities and unsafe driving behaviors”


The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) dedicates every day to making sure Texas roadways are safe for all travelers. To that end, as part of a multi-agency law enforcement initiative, we have established temporary traffic regulatory checkpoints in the Rio Grande Valley designed to promote compliance with the laws governing driver license, insurance and vehicle safety regulations.  

DPS appreciates those members of the public and the government officials who support our law enforcement efforts to ensure safe and secure roadways for all Texans. Unfortunately, false information and mischaracterizations have been circulating regarding this law enforcement effort.

This short-term effort was conceived as a response to various criminal activities and unsafe driving behaviors identified in South Texas. For example, in 2010, 2011 and 2012, the Rio Grande Valley’s Cameron, Hidalgo and Willacy counties led the state in the number of citations DPS issued to drivers for “no driver license.” The same area is second only to the Houston area for “no insurance” citations issued by DPS during the same time period. In fact, 15 percent of all DPS-issued “no driver license” citations in the state occurred in the same three counties in the Rio Grande Valley in 2012.

Some uninformed individuals have claimed that these checkpoints are illegal — which is false. A traffic regulatory checkpoint is an authorized law enforcement strategy that has been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court (City of Indianapolis vs. Edmond, 531 U.S. 32, 2000) and by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (Lujan vs. State, 331 S. W. 3d 768, 2011). DPS conducts traffic regulatory checkpoints under its general authority to enforce the laws protecting public safety.

I want to reassure the public that these traffic regulatory checkpoints are used only for the purpose of determining compliance with specific regulatory traffic statutes, including failure to display a driver license, failure to maintain financial responsibility, as well as vehicle safety and registration requirements. As with any other traffic stop, if a violation is found, a citation or warning is issued, and warrant checks are conducted. Troopers also have the authority to address obvious criminal violations; such as, driving while intoxicated.

Checkpoint programs with the primary purpose of detecting criminal wrongdoing have never been approved by the courts.

Also, the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit deemed neighborhood checkpoints set up by the police unconstitutional and to be in blatant violation of the Fourth Amendment, which protects citizens from unlawful search and seizures.

The checkpoints are reportedly targeting residents in low-income neighborhoods, causing many people to cancel doctors appointments and keep their American-born children home from school. 

Checkpoint USA’s Terry Bressi estimates he’s been stopped over 300 times at immigration checkpoints: 

How I learned to stop feeling safe in my own country & hate border agents:


2 thoughts on “Public Safety director claims illegal checkpoints are a response to “various criminal activities and unsafe driving behaviors”

  1. Senator Leahy asked DHS to clarify whether the agency plans to build permanent border checkpoints in Vermont:

    U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., has asked the Department of Homeland Security to clarify whether the agency plans to build permanent border checkpoints in Vermont. Leahy’s request comes after the release of documents that show the agency has conducted detailed studies of prospective locations for such facilities far from the Canadian Border.

    In a letter to Rand Beers, the acting director of DHS, Leahy cited a trove of papers obtained by the Vermont chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union that show in 2006 the Border Patrol evaluated several locations in the Twin States, including sites in the Upper Valley.

    The same documents showed that when the Border Patrol operated a temporary checkpoint on Interstate 91 in Hartford during that period, most of the contraband agents confiscated was small amounts of marijuana.

    “I have never been convinced that the effectiveness of the temporary Border Patrol checkpoint on Interstate 91 outweighs its intrusion into the lives of law abiding Vermonters,” Leahy wrote, saying he was seeking “reassurance” that no plans to build a permanent checkpoint are being pursued. “For example, as the documents obtained by the Vermont ACLU make clear, the majority of contraband seizures that occurred between 2004 and 2010 involved small amounts of marijuana or marijuana paraphernalia. It is difficult to agree that these seizures justify the intrusiveness that all Vermonters and visitors to the state experience when encountering this federal checkpoint.”

    In a statement released Monday evening, the Border Patrol Public Affairs Office said the agency had no plans to build a checkpoint in Vermont.

    “The U.S. Border Patrol presently has no plans to erect permanent checkpoints in Vermont,” the agency said. “The documents referenced in the ACLU report were from several years ago, we exercised due diligence and explored the feasibility of establishing permanent checkpoints.”

    The Vermont ACLU yesterday endorsed Leahy’s letter.

    “Sen. Leahy has for quite some time pointed out that internal checkpoints are not necessarily a good tool in fighting terrorists trying to come into the country,” Executive Director Allen Gilbert said. “He’s also pointed out the checkpoints are an affront to law-abiding persons’ right to move freely within the state and country. ”

  2. One can rationalize just about anything but it still doesn’t cut it. A drivers license proves nothing and to me it is intimidation with the motive of creating fear and control. Realize slave we rule you OBEY.

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