Customs and Border Protection has been slowly ramping up their illegal searches over the past few years.
As we discussed in January, over 30,000 people had their electronic devices searched without probable cause or a warrant by Customs and Border Protection in 2017. This was a 50% increase from 2016.
I believe anyone on American soil deserves every protection under the Bill of Rights. But even if you think foreigners do not qualify for those protections, that still leaves 6,000 Americans who had their rights against unreasonable search and seizure violated by American Customs Agents in 2017.
Sometimes, it just seems like the government is testing the public's response. They essentially want to see what they can get away with, and in what way the public fights back.
Of course, the game is rigged in the government's favor. Your only recourse for a rights violation by the government is to go to the government courts.
But apparently, some judges still have some integrity and a sense of duty. This month on an appeal, the 4th circuit ruled that Border agents need at very least reasonable suspicion in order to search anyone's electronics–not just Americans.
Unfortunately, the court did not apply the stricter standard of finding probable cause that a crime has been committed, or even acquiring a warrant before having the authority to search electronics.
This is the problem with the government having a monopoly on courts and policing. Violations of rights happen in real time, and there is nothing you can do. There is no guarantee the courts will ever vindicate you, but if they do, it will years later, and narrow in scope.
Roadside Immigration Checkpoints
Last September we talked about a roadside checkpoint in New Hampshire that was meant to catch illegal immigrants–90 miles from the Canadian border. They snagged a few unlucky families from Boston, although the latest reports say that no one was actually charged with illegal immigration. But the local police collaborating with federal officials did arrest a number of people for small amounts of drugs.
The New Hampshire state police and federal agents had drug-sniffing dogs… at the illegal immigration checkpoint.