A middle school teacher refused to answer a question about her citizenship at a checkpoint in New Mexico last week and got detained for more than an hour for her troubles. The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that Shane Parmely, an English, art, and theater teacher in San Diego, Calif., refused to tell Border Patrol agents if she was a US citizen after pulling up to the checkpoint. "Are we crossing a border?" Parmely can be heard asking the agent on video shot by her family. “I’ve never been asked if I’m a citizen before when I’m traveling down the road.” The agent responded, "You are required to answer an immigration question."
Border agents at first refused to let Parmely's son use the bathroom until his mother answered the question but they soon relented. And in the end they let Parmely go without making her answer. According to a flier distributed by the ACLU, Border Patrol agents can ask "limited questions to verify citizenship" at checkpoints, and those who refuse to answer can be detained while agents verify their status. After posting footage from the incident on her Facebook page Friday night, Parmely received some backlash. But she responded in one comment that she was "sick of helping perpetuate racist laws just because I’m not inconvenienced by them.” (Read more Border Patrol stories.)