U.S. border agents can no longer search international travelers’ phones and other electronic devices without suspecting them of a crime, Boston federal district judge U.S. District Judge Denise Casper ruled on November 12. In response to a 2017 lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the judge said the Fourth Amendment requires authorities to have at least a reasonable and individualized suspicion of criminal activity. Customs and Border Protection agents have been randomly seizing and searching international travelers’ phones and electronic devices at airports and other U.S. ports of entry without probable cause or warrants.
Judge Casper’s ruling said,
“Even under the border search exception, it is the privacy interests implicated by unfettered access to such a trove of personal information that must be balanced against the promotion of paramount governmental interests at the border.”
The Associated Press reported that the number of travelers’ phones and electronic device searched at U.S. ports of entry has increased significantly:
In August, Tech Crunch reported that immigration officers at Boston’s Logan Airport questioned college student Ismail Ajjawi about his religion and religious practices. The officers who searched his phone and computer reportedly took issue with his friends’ social media activity. Ajjawi’s visa was canceled and he was deported for his friends’ social media posts, although he was later permitted to enter the United States to attend Harvard University.
Mario Godoy and the attorneys at Godoy Law Firm in Chicago and Lombard work with you to evaluate your immigration status and guide you in your journey to becoming a US citizen. If you need help with an immigration issue, please contact our office or call us at 855-554-6369.