Cellphone Searches by Border Agents Violate Constitution, Lawsuit Says : NPR
The American Civil Liberties Union says it has uncovered new evidence that federal border agents are violating the Constitution when they search travelers’ electronic devices.
The ACLU, along with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, sued the federal government in 2017, alleging that its “warrantless and suspicionless searches” of electronic devices at the U.S. ports of entry violated the First and Fourth amendments. Lawyers now say that, through depositions of border agents, they have learned that the scope of the warrantless searches has expanded far beyond the mere enforcement of immigration and customs laws.
Border officers have the authority to search belongings for contraband, or to determine who is admissible into the U.S., the ACLU said. But agents now “claim authority to search travelers’ devices for general law enforcement purposes, such as looking for potential evidence of illegal activity beyond violations of immigration and customs laws,” plaintiffs wrote.