The New York Civil Liberties Union today joined a coalition of immigrants’ rights and civil rights organizations in urging Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to take measures to ensure that the U.S. Border Patrol’s enforcement tactics along the northern border respect people’s constitutional rights.

“Upstate New York is not a Constitution-free zone,” NYCLU executive Director Donna Lieberman said. “The Border Patrol’s aggressive and biased tactics have little to do with protecting the border. They undermine the safety of immigrant communities and instill fear by detaining people who were stopped and arrested while going about their everyday lives. We expect the federal government to patrol the border in a manner that respects people’s constitutional rights.”

The Northern Border Coalition today sent Napolitano a letter calling for reforms to Customs and Border Protection operations along the northern border. The NYCLU was among the letters’ 55 signatories.

In November, the NYCLU, the NYU Immigrant Rights Clinic and Families for Freedom released a report that presented the first-ever in-depth analysis of the Border Patrol’s interior enforcement operations, including raids on domestic trains and buses, in upstate New York. These aggressive tactics tear apart families, instill fear in immigrant communities and violate constitutional safeguards.

The report paints a disturbing picture of an agency that wrongly believes it has the authority to stop anyone at any time or place within 100 miles of the border and demand proof of their citizenship or immigration status.

These aggressive practices are not limited to upstate New York. There are complaints of armed Border Patrol agents routinely stopping, interrogating and arresting people, including U.S. citizens, all along the nation’s northern border.