PAPERS PLEASE: Photographer & Family Detained – Because of the Constitution – VIDEO

UPDATE: YouTube Removed our original video offering the reason that it’s content was “inappropriate”. It has been re-posted to Vimeo, Facebook and YouTube.

by Gavin Seim: I am an American. I will travel my highways freely – I will work protect my family from assault and intimidation by criminals, be they badged or a hooded – I am American – I will speak freely, move freely, worship freely and take a stand to keep my children free – I refuse to comply. Why? Because my government has no right to stop us on the road without cause. I’m standing up for freedom before we lose it and I believe everyone should do the same.

Gavin Seim - Detained at CheckpointThis is one of those that we experienced yesterday while on the 2013 Early Tour. Sondra always records our encounters. If she didn’t these might end differently.

I don’t say American Pictorialist for nothing. I love Jesus, freedom and the Constitution. and I’ve had enough with armed guards trying to take that away. I make no secret about my values and I can be pretty adamant. This is America and people have a right to disagree with me. But when it comes to my government and the US Constitution I have little wiggle room.

These Border Patrol road block checkpoints dot the Southwest on public highways and interstates. They are not border crossings of any kind. In fact this one is about 80 miles inland. They stop innocent people without cause to question them. Papers, Please!

This is in direct violation with the constitution and we need to stand up. I don’t give them respect because their “just doing their job”. They are thugs the moment they violate our rights. I do not cooperate. It’s not so much about the questions being asked. It’s about freedom. The moment they said I was being detailed they broke the law. The Border Patrol has a tough job, but bullying free citizens does not earn them respect.

This is not Nazi Germany. My government does not have the right to stop and question me in the middle of the road without cause. I don’t care what crooked judges or made up laws say. The highest law of this land is the Constitution. Many died so I could have freedom. I won’t dishonor them by refusing to stand up for that freedom.

To those who feel I simply disrespect authority or that I’m just making a fuss about nothing. Consider that we live in a nation where some Border Agents go to prison because their do their job. But when they detain, intimidate and even arrest citizens driving their own highways it’s accepted. That is tyranny my friends.

Free nations do not force their citizens to stop in the road and be questioned folks. Not at all. In America the government does not get permission to stop and detain us with cause. Not for ANY reason. The moment they do they are criminals and should be treated the same as any other criminal.

Our Border Patrol has done far worse. They harass and detain visitors to our country without cause. The beat and arrest Americans for doing things like I just did. The list goes on. These people say they are stopping terrorists. I say they are the terrorists. This is not freedom folks. This is tyranny.

I should note: Sometimes people believe that I pick fights because I just like to make trouble.

The truth is that my stomach is in knots every time I pull up to one of those. It feels good to take a stand. But I can’t say I like being the guy to do it. It would not take many rising against these checkpoint to render them useless. If we all refused to answer, held up the line and stood up for our freedom, the Federals would likely back off.

This is the America you live in. What are you going to do about it?

“Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety” – Benjamin Franklin

It’s Easter. A day of freedom. I am Gavin Seim and I would be free.


The Fourth Amendment:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

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23 Responses to PAPERS PLEASE: Photographer & Family Detained – Because of the Constitution – VIDEO

  1. Cathy S says:

    Saw this on facebook. I was going to like it on facebook, and a minute later it was down. Saying the author took it down.

  2. Jeff Barker says:

    Thank You so much for putting this out there. I couldn’t agree more. Old school, I guess, but it IS OUR COUNTRY.

  3. Amy cameron says:

    God Bless you Gavin and keep you and yours safe 🙂

  4. Steve says:

    Great job Gavin . I had seen a video of this crap on YouTube and they did the same as you. If you let them go this far who knows what they will do next. I think a lot of people have forgot what government is. They think it owns everything…..we own everything and we put people responsible in place to run things. Wake the f?!$ up people!.
    Have fun and take care.

  5. R L says:

    I like this video, and the sentiment it espouses, but I have to point out that things might have gone very differently for you if you were brown and had an accent. Even if you were brown with an accent and a U.S. Citizen, I find it hard to believe they would have let you go as easily.

  6. mike falasca jr says:

    Gavin you just became my HERO ,keep up the fight . Your video made proud to be an American again !

  7. R L says:

    I think it’s kind of funny that you apparently censored my previous comment, even though it was perfectly valid. So much for that old constitutional right “freedom of speech,” eh?

    • Gavin Seim says:

      For the record, freedom of speech is not a right on a private website 😉 That said, on principle I rarely censor comments on any of my sites unless they are spam downright vulgar. They just have to be approved first due to spam.

      I have to wounder though. If the person had been an actual illegal they might have given him a free latte and some of my money 😉

  8. Ed Klinger says:

    Great job Gav for standing up for our freedoms. It is unbelievable that checkpoints like that exists. Keep up the good work!

  9. Vicki says:

    Gav, I cannot tell you how much I appreciate you highlighting this issue. I live in Far West Texas and we are constantly faced with this issue. It took courage for you stand up for your rights as there is DEFINITELY risk involved. Detention, impounding/destruction of your vehicle, financial loss if you have to hire lawyers, etc. And, I’m sure you know you’ll lose some FB followers or other support because you’ve dared to post something “political”. I really appreciate you bringing awareness of these illegal “border” checkpoints (PAPERS PLEASE!) to the attention of people in other parts of the country who might not even know this stuff goes on.

    One other thing that really bugs me about the agents claiming to searching for immigration violations: why do ALL vehicles passing through these checkpoints get sniffed? As far as I know they have not yet been able to train dogs to sniff out PEOPLE with no “papers” So, what’s up with the dogs sniffing ALL vehicles for drugs? Is the mere fact that I am driving down the road “probable cause”? It shouldn’t be.

    Thank you for fighting the good fight. Love your photography and your products.

  10. Unhesitant Virtuosity says:

    I appreciate your motivation and share your concerns and devotion. Your idea of masses in revolt are not new or unique, nor are they unprofitable or dissmissable. The behavior and response of the agent you first encountered highlights the degeneration that vehemently infected, not only this organization, but our nation as a whole – disheartening and disgusting. I am proud of my past participations in this organization, but, daily, I observe it devolving into a political security against civil disobedience. Thomas Paine is rolling over in his grave and the gall is rising in my throat as well as yours. That said, I have one criticism … When my friends died along the border, fighting for our children’s safety and freedom. When my mother lost sleep, knowing the dangers her son was facing. When your right to speak and think as you wish was secured by my brothers and I. When I put my life in harm’s way – everyday – in your stead, protecting your family, where was your blog, your voice, your gratitude? Patriotism and Justice have no connection with “15 minutes of fame”.
    Stand up! Stand up and I’ll stand beside you, but remember that absolute freedom is anarchy. Civil liberty requires civil responsibility. Stand up or Shut up.

    • Gavin Seim says:

      Thanks for your comment. I offer my thanks to all that serve honorably. But I have to judge my actions and the actions I see here are bad.

      Those that chose a job in military or enforcement do so as a job. They get paid and I agree, they do not always get noticed, but they choose their work just like I choose mine. You don’t automatically deserve praise because of your job, even if it involves risk. If they so so with honor I most certainly give them respect, but I don’t automatically grant respect because of the job they hold.

      I have lost respect for the Border Patrol. They act as thugs who oppress a free people. Does that mean no one of in the organization has honor, no. But I would submit that those with honor should step away because the things they are being asked to do are getting worse and worse. It seems they and similar groups like HLS, TSA etc are becoming the terrorists, not the terror stoppers.

      I don’t stand up for freedom for 15 minutes of fame. I stand for freedom because I would be free. I happen to enjoy speaking and be a bit of a showman. I speak and teach a lot in my work. I will use that experience get my message across. But don’t make the mistake of thinking I’m some jerk looking to be a jerk so he can get video views. I am downright scared when I make these videos and I stand up for this because I want my kids to have freedom left when they are my age.


      • Unhesitant Virtuosity says:

        Thank you for acknowledging the aspect of honor. The Border Patrol has enphasized the ideas of “Integrity” and “Honor” in the press and in the ranks to an extraordinary degree for the last several years. This lip service has calmed the complaints of outsiders very well. However their activities, ie, lowered hiring standards, decreased emphasis on law and constitutional rights, increased emphasis on diversity and special interest groups prove opposing interests. With that in mind, as well as your advice to distance ourselves, what would happen if those of us who understand and respect the values of this country left? The same advice that you issued to us should, logically, be issued to you, as well – if it’s broke, don’t try to fix it, just leave!
        I maintain that as long as I breath, in whatever capacity I have, my responsibility is to repair the damage and instruct others. Your belittlement and chastisement serves no benefit to yourself or us in that regard. Criticize… Blow the whistle… Yes, please, but do so with the intent of construction, not destruction of this nation and its traditions.

      • P says:

        The more I read the The less I understand what’s going on in your head . I pity your children’s upbringing and the other impressionable souls that you sway towards your way of thinking. Your a cancer that infects our society.

  11. sven says:

    wow. you are courageous. i’m not american and i don’t live in your country, but i like this video very much 🙂 keep it rolling

  12. David says:

    What part of the constitution / fourth amendment makes these checkpoints illegal again? We rely on our courts to interpret the vague language of our Constitution / amendments. So when the courts rule to define what is ‘reasonable / unreasonable’, what is ‘seizure’ or what is ‘search’ , you are happy as long as it fits YOUR understanding of the document. But when the courts rule that these stops DO NOT infringe upon what they have already defined the words to mean, then you cry ‘treason!’?? Pray tell, since you do not respect the law of the land or even the highest court of the land, please I pray : explain clearly how it is that you feel these inland checkpoints infringe upon your rights. And explain how you find peace before your Lord Jesus Christ after disrespecting the men and women who enforce the law, by calling them thugs for enforcement of law that has been upheld by the highest court in the land. Jesus is in heaven right now shaking his head I’m sure. God bless you sir, but I do not agree with your disrespect for my constitution or the law that governs my great nation.

    • Gavin Seim says:

      David you are entitled to your opinion. But if you think that checkpoints do not violate the Constitution you really have not done your homework. The Supreme court has even acknowledged these checkpoints infringed on Constitutional rights yet let them slide anyways which I believe is an act of treason.

      The 4th amendment clearly states we are to be secure in our persons and property. If you think police state enforcers who detain us for no reason are not thugs, then you really are in the wrong country. If the courts violate the most clear and basic law of our land that does not mean the law has changed. They are paid to interpret the law justly, but our government was setup so that when they violated that we could and would rise up. Hence the 2nd amendment.

      There is nothing in opposition to Christ about standing up for the freedom that God allowed us to have in this nation. In fact by standing against tyrants in America you are helping enforce the law. It is indeed them who are the criminals. Remember the Constitution is our highest law. By your standards you should most certainly be chiding the founding fathers for standing and fighting for our God given rights.

      Please don’t call me disrespectful of the Constitution when you have totally ignored it’s letter and intent in your statements. You need to study your history of tyrannical governments, America and the Constitution itself to gain a real understanding of what it means to be free before making such statements. An official that violates human rights is a thug and a tyrant. One of those human rights on our constitutions is the the right to move freely without being accosted. That is law here. Anyone who violates it no matter what their badge says is a criminal and should be treated as such.

      Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts, but please do your homework instead of following the ideal of the State and false security under the guise of freedom.


      “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety” – Benjamin Franklin

  13. Joe Dassaro says:


    Love your work and podcasts. I was a US Border Patrol Agent for 13 years in the Southwest and that video did make me cringe. However, the authority of the Border Patrol to establish inland checkpoints is based on statutory law under Title 8. Congress authorizes these checkpoints. Currently the “border zone” as it is called is limited to 25 miles with some exceptions in Arizona I believe, where it is extended. Administratively, the purpose of this zone is to support the movement of certain nonimmigrants within that zone, so as not to require additional documentation for them to move past the zone (typically an I-94 for nonimmigrant purposes). Operationally, the inland checkpoints actually perform quite a service and have been responsible for saving children from abduction, drug seizures, and preventing violent crimes. Comparatively, international airports in the United States fall into an analagous category in that they constitute “the border” regardless of geographic location.

    Compliance at a checkpoint is largely voluntary. The agent could iitiate an investigative detention (aka a “Terry Stop”) based on reasonable suspicion standards. Absent an investigative detention, your interaction with the agent was classified as a consensual encounter and you were free to refuse or consent (which you did).

    The agent in the video was wrong in citing the Constitution. He should have cited the statutory and regulatory authority instead.

    • Gavin Seim says:

      Joe I understand you see a different perspective on this. But I have no tolerance for tyranny. I don’t care what rules they made up. I care about the Constitution that they swore to uphold. The moment they detain me without cause they violated that oath. People need to stand up and take back their liberty. And the border patrol need to be reigned in and put back on the border.

      “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety” – Benjamin Franklin.

      Take care, Gav

  14. Valentin luquin says:

    Thank you for putting this out there and opening the eyes of people everyone needs to take a firm stand against these amendment violating check points because we know the real reason for this check points is not to find illegals but to try to have total control over us and therefor control the money the drug cartels that are not paying the government to run their drugs freely when it comes down to it its all about money.. Do some research people and you will see.. Thank you again for taking a stand you have my vote and i will also take a stand against this nazi checkpoints.

  15. P says:

    I just saw your video about the check point. I realize this was about three years ago but hopefully you get this message. I can’t stand people like you you talk about constitutional rights that’s all well and good but what you seem to not realize is every time you obstruct the duties of our border patrols you make it easier for illegal aliens and terrorists to travel freely within our country . You are so hell-bent on being anti-government that you put the rest of the United States in danger. In my eyes people like you are accomplices to terrorism . Pick your fights better these people are here to protect us. Nobody likes to be detained or question But the fact is they make a difference . That was my intelligent response to your video now for my emotional response. You are a fucking asshole and I wish they would’ve pulled you out of your car and beat the fuck out of you !!!!!!!!!!! Thank you for making America less safe for your children and the rest of us.

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