Vehicle Stops Based Only On Occupants’ Appearance Unconstitutional

1975

The U.S. Supreme Court says Border Patrol officers may not stop a vehicle solely because they suspect that it contains illegal immigrants. In U.S. v. Brignoni-Ponce, the justices unanimously decide that the challenged stop was unconstitutional because it was based on a single factor: The occupants appeared to be Mexican. The Court says that while this is a relevant factor, it cannot be the only factor in a vehicle stop.