APNewsBreak: US northern border checks scaled back

By GENE JOHNSON | October 28, 2011 | 5:20 PM EDT

SEATTLE (AP) — The U.S. Border Patrol has quietly stopped its controversial practice of routinely searching buses, trains and airports for illegal immigrants at transportation hubs along the northern border and in the nation's interior.

Current and former Border Patrol agents tell The Associated Press that field offices around the country began receiving the order last month. It came soon after the Obama administration announced it would focus immigration efforts on deporting criminals.

The checks typically involved agents questioning people at transportation hubs who appeared suspicious. Critics called it racial profiling.

The union for Border Patrol agents says they can now only respond to the hubs if they have "actionable intelligence."

Two agents described the directive to the AP on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to the media.