Crowd Control: Border Zone Guide for Phish Phans

Your time is near, the mission’s clear! Did you know that if you’re attending the following Phish shows this summer, you will be inside the 100-mile border zone, where U.S. Customs & Border Patrol (CBP) has increased search and seizure powers? CBP can verify citizenship within 100 miles of a border or “external boundary,” like coastlines. If you’re not, you might encounter immigration officers or other law enforcement while traveling to other venues by Cars Trucks Buses. Know your rights! Be informed!


Bill Graham Civic Center (San Francisco, CA)

The Forum (Los Angeles, CA)

BB&T Pavilion (Camden, NJ)

Coastal Credit Union Music Park (Raleigh, NC)*

Merriweather Post Pavilion (Columbia, MD)

Watkins Glen International (Watkins Glen, NY)


Times Union Center (Albany, NY)*

Hampton Coliseum (Hampton, VA)

Allstate Arena (Rosemont, IL)

*Slightly outside 100-mile zone, but very close.

We’re everywhere, right? Let’s use this fact to do some good together. The time has come for changes, do something or we will!

CBP can only ask brief questions about citizenship. They cannot hold you for an extended time without “reasonable suspicion.” An immigration officer cannot search you or your belongings without “probable cause” or your consent. An immigration officer cannot arrest you without “probable cause.” Neither your silence nor your race or ethnicity count as probable cause or reasonable suspicion. Always say no to a search.

If you are a white U.S. citizen, and you are on a train, bus, or plane that ICE or CBP boards, SAY SOMETHING! Pull out your phone and videotape the encounter. Loudly let others know their rights to:

  • Remain silent or only answer questions in the presence of an attorney.
  • Refuse to consent to a search.

If you see someone being detained, ask if they are being detained or are free to go.

If you witness rights violations:

  1. Take notes. Get contact information for witnesses. Get badge and patrol car numbers for officers involved.
  2. Take pictures of injuries, if any.
  3. File a complaint with agency’s internal affairs.
  4. Contact the local ACLU.

Information above is condensed from the following sources, which are helpful if you would like to learn more:

ACLU Arizona “Know Your Rights with Border Patrol” (great resource to print & distribute)

ACLU “Know your Rights” printable handout  (English)

ACLU “Know your Rights” printable handout (above handout, link to other languages)

What to do when encountering law enforcement at airports and other points of entry 

Advice for how to interact with CBP in specific, real-life scenarios

What to do if you witness immigration officers questioning someone (or if you are stopped yourself)

IDP Know Your Rights Fact Sheet (includes script for if you are stopped by ICE)

Explanation of the 100-mile border zone

Also note: wherever you are, you can check your distance to an international border or external boundary, using the “measure distance between points” tool in Google Maps.

While you’re at it, download and save this Festival Lawyer resource on your phone!