Pretty remarkable stuff when you dig into it: http://www.thenation.com/article/180649/66-percent-americans-now-live-constitution-free-zone
The zone first came into existence thanks to a series of laws passed by Congress in the 1940s and 1950s at a time when the Border Patrol was just an afterthought with a minuscule budget and only 1,100 agents. Today, Customs and Border Protection has more than 60,000 employees and is by far the largest federal law enforcement agency in the country. According to author and constitutional attorney John Whitehead, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), created in 2002, is efficiently and ruthlessly building “a standing army on American soil.” Long ago, President James Madison warned that “a standing military force, with an overgrown Executive, will not long be safe companions to liberty.” With its 240,000 employees and $61 billion budget, the DHS, Whitehead points out, is militarizing police units, stockpiling ammunition, spying on activists, and building detention centers, among many other things. CBP is the uniformed and most visible component of this “standing army.” It practically has its own air force and navy, an Office of Air and Marine equipped with 280 sea vessels, 250 aircraft and 1,200 agents. The Homeland Security surveillance gaze in the Southwest is, in fact, so pervasive that it has even nabbed singer Willy Nelson in Texas for marijuana possession. It detained 96-year-old former Arizona governor Raul Castro and made him stand in 100-degree heat for more than thirty minutes because a dog detected the radiation from his pacemaker. In the past three years in the Tucson sector, the patrol has made more than 6,000 arrests and confiscated 135,000 pounds of narcotics at checkpoints. But this is no longer just a matter of inland areas near the Mexican Border. A Border Patrol agent forced Vermont’s senior senator Patrick Leahy from his car at a checkpoint 125 miles south of the New York State border. The ACLU of Vermont unearthed a prototype plan for CBP to operate checkpoints to stop southbound traffic on all five highways through that New England border state. In Shena Gutierrez’s case, she returned to the same Nogales “port of entry” with two other activists to lodge a complaint about the purse incident. When she refused to leave federal property (for which she now faces charges), the CBP arrested and detained her for hours. This time they did what she described as “an invasive body search.” “I told them that I had not given my consent to be touched.” They nonetheless made her take off her wedding ring “for safety.” When she resisted, they said that they “would force it off her.” Again, the handcuffs cut into her wrists. This time, an agent kicked her in the ankle from behind. A female agent searched her thoroughly, from head to toe and in her private parts, because she “might have drugs or contraband or documents.” As the agent groped her, she told me, she began to think yet again about what her husband had gone through. If this can happen to a US citizen, she told me, “Imagine what happens to a person without documents.”
Much of U.S. population affected Many people think that border-related policies only impact people living in border towns like El Paso or San Diego. The reality is that Border Patrol's interior enforcement operations encroach deep into and across the United States, affecting the majority of Americans. Roughly two-thirds of the United States' population lives within the 100-mile zone—that is, within 100 miles of a U.S. land or coastal border. That's about 200 million people. Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont lie entirely or almost entirely within this area. Nine of the ten largest U.S. metropolitan areas, as determined by the 2010 Census, also fall within this zone: New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Antonio, San Diego and San Jose. The Problem The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects Americans from random and arbitrary stops and searches. According to the government, however, these basic constitutional principles do not apply fully at our borders. For example, at border crossings (also called "ports of entry"), federal authorities do not need a warrant or even suspicion of wrongdoing to justify conducting what courts have called a "routine search," such as searching luggage or a vehicle. Even in places far removed from the border, deep into the interior of the country, immigration officials enjoy broad—though not limitless—powers. Specifically, federal regulations give U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) authority to operate within 100 miles of any U.S. "external boundary." In this 100-mile zone, Border Patrol agents have certain extra-Constitutional powers. For instance, Border Patrol can operate immigration checkpoints. Border Patrol, nevertheless, cannot pull anyone over without "reasonable suspicion" of an immigration violation or crime (reasonable suspicion is more than just a "hunch"). Similarly, Border Patrol cannot search vehicles in the 100-mile zone without a warrant or "probable cause" (a reasonable belief, based on the circumstances, that an immigration violation or crime has likely occurred). In practice, Border Patrol agents routinely ignore or misunderstand the limits of their legal authority in the course of individual stops, resulting in violations of the constitutional rights of innocent people. These problems are compounded by inadequate training for Border Patrol agents, a lack of oversight by CBP and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the consistent failure of CBP to hold agents accountable for abuse. Thus, although the 100-mile border zone is not literally "Constitution free," the U.S. government frequently acts like it is.