The internet has long been a place where technology meets the wild wild west for people looking to avoid societal norms as well as rules, regulations and laws. Online sites and services like Bitcoin, Silk Road, Craigslist and the dark web in general have been used for all sorts of underground, illicit, illegal activities and commerce, so it is no surprise that people are now using Google Maps to get around U.S. border laws and authorities.
Google’s map search has been used by a lot of people to find a lot of locations over the years and now it is being used by illegal immigrants to locate and avoid U.S. Border Patrol Agents.
A number of user-created Google maps pinpoint border patrol locations and operations on the US-Mexico border in an attempt to help people cross over into the United States illegally.
One of these custom Google maps is called “Routes to Avoid” which has had over 700,000 views. “Routes to Avoid” has location pins for dozens of temporary and permanent border patrol locations. The map pins also contain user-edited information on what type of border patrol operations are going on at the location.
One location from the “Routes to Avoid” map is named “Laredo, TX I-35 – Border Patrol Checkpoint.” This border patrol location contains the following information: “Located 24 miles north of Laredo TX border. Checks all northbound traffic.”
A number of other locations on “Routes to Avoid” include highway mile marker numbers.
The location for “San Clemente, CA I-5 – Border Patrol Checkpoint” has the following details: “Mile Marker 67 – I-5,
San Clemente, California 92674 – The San Clemente Border Patrol Station maintains a full-time traffic checkpoint on the northbound lanes of I-5. It is one of seven stations in the San Diego Border Patrol Sector and 1 of 4 checkpoints.”
Another border patrol map called “Border Patrol” has 72 border patrol locations marked on it and has had several thousand views. There are reportedly a significant number of similar border location maps that have been created and posted by people on Google’s custom mapping service, “Google My Maps.”
At the beginning of 2016, a group called “Latino Rebels” launched a site called MigraMap that uses Google Maps to track the locations and details for Immigration and Customs Enforcement ( ICE ) raids and deportations around the United States. Users of MigraMap are encouraged to submit location and detail information for any ICE raids and deportations that they are aware of.
Some of the information found on the maps comes from public record sources and some is based on personal observations and third-party information, but all of it appears to be for the purpose of helping people avoid U.S. immigration law and enforcement.