FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--
The United States Border Patrol is ordering certain travelers entering the country to turn over their cell phones and laptops for inspection at customs; Several lawsuits filed by travelers, The American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, have gained national attention concerning Fourth Amendment rights
Lawsuits regarding the unlawful search and seizure of travelers’ cellphones and laptops have drawn attention from the Supreme Court and district judges across the country.
The United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has the right to search people without a warrant if the reason for the search is to find illegal immigrants and the search occurs within 100 miles of an international border or sea coast.
The CPB uses this right to search and seize electronics of travelers entering the country. Since 2015, the number of cell phones searched by law enforcement has quadrupled, drawing concern for a violation of the fourth amendment.
“The biggest problem with border searches is law enforcement's unchecked ability to carry out surreptitious investigations without probable cause. For instance, they may have a target they are investigating for drug trafficking. They don't have enough to get a warrant or arrest this individual yet, so they wait until the target travels, and they conduct a `border search' under false pretenses. This gives law enforcement a free pass to take a look at their target's electronics without a warrant. They can seize their laptop or iPhone and conduct a forensic search,” said Chad Piotrowski, Founder of Piotrowski Law.
The Fourth Amendment protects Americans from unreasonable search and seizure, requiring law enforcement to provide warrants supported by probable cause prior to searches. Courts have made an exception for these searches at United States ports of entry and airports, enabling government officials to conduct warrantless border searches to enforce immigration and protect national security.
“National security is of utmost importance, and border searches are necessary. However, law enforcement abuses border search powers to circumvent the 4th Amendment to conduct illegal search and seizures, and that's not right,” Piotrowski said.
If the CBP or Department of Homeland Security seizes your phone, tablet, or laptop at any U.S. border or airport, contact Piotrowski Law for an experienced legal defense dedicated to fighting for you.
Piotrowski Law is an experienced criminal defense lawyer who previously served as Assistant State attorney for Miami-Dade County. He has an extensive background fighting some of the toughest cases in Florida criminal court, revolutionizing tactical client representation methods. As a member of the National and Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Piotrowski holds an unmatched level of representation for his clients.