Imagine that you're riding on an Amtrak train from Chicago to New York City in the middle of the night. Shortly after the train crosses into New York State, several armed Border Patrol agents board the train, roust selected passengers out of their sleep, interrogate them, and cart a number of them off the train at the next stop. What would you do?
Would you assume that the passengers must have been identified as terrorists or spies and, thus, be relieved that the agents had acted in the interest of your security?
What if you learned that foreign-born students who entered the country legally were being detained, strip-searched, or even transported across the country and 'dropped off', because they could not produce proper documents?
According to an article in today's New York Times, this is going on not too far from Happy Valley, without attracting the kind of national attention that has been paid to Arizona's recently introduced immigration law.
What ethical issues does this expansion of the traditional role of Border Patrol raise? Is the attempt to justify this practice by appeal to the claim that passengers are under no constraint to answer any questions convincing? Do such tactics actually keep us safe? If we were to assume that they do keep us safe, would that be all that is required to conclude that they are justifiable? What, if anything, do the supplied graphs indicate about the claim that agents are not using racial profiling?