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Border search law could be subject of Supreme Court challenge

By: Ruben Veloz

EL PASO, TexasA U.S. policy that affects millions of travelers crossing through international borders could be the subject of a Supreme Court challenge.

The possible Supreme Court showdown comes after a judge says the feds can search electronic devices without reasonable suspicion of criminal activity.

While some said its purpose is to protect the country from terrorism, others say this is only another form of infringement on privacy.

According to a New York federal judge's ruling, Customs and Border Protection officers can search laptops, digital cameras and cellphones without suspicion of criminal activity.

The U.S. policy also contradicts a California ruling that states agents must have "reasonable suspicion" to search travelers' electronic devices.

The decision was upheld after the American Civil Liberties Union Challenged the Obama administration's policy in court, arguing that the policy "poses a danger to the lives of ordinary Americans."

However, the U.S. policy also contradicts a California ruling that states agents must have "reasonable suspicion" to search travelers' electronic devices.

Borderland resident Crystal Garcia, who travels to Chihuahua frequently, has a problem with the policy.

"If they have a need to do it, if they suspect something is going on, then why not?" said Garcia, "but I don't agree with just randomly doing it to anyone, because everyone has their privacy."

For others, the administration's policy is one they've never heard of.

"I never even heard about a Constitution-free zone. We live in a land that's based off so if a constitution free zone is totally unacceptable in my opinion, said west El Pasoan Brandon Potts.

CBP's website said all of its search authority is derived from federal statutes and regulations.

CBP Authority to Search: www.cbp.gov

The agency's policy of electronic devices: www.cbp.gov

In a statement published in 2010, CBP said it is aware of how inconvenient and stressful the inspection process may be, and rely heavily on the patience and understanding of the traveler.

 

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