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Traveler Rights With Border Patrol: Five Important Things You Should Know

Travelers Today       By    Jestan Dale Mendame

Updated: Feb 17, 2017 04:13 AM EST

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things travelers should know when facing border patrol, traveler rights, traveler's border rights

There are times when border patrol may ask you to hand over your digital devices but you become skeptical if you should do it or not. However, it's a government policy that exists today and it has caused so much tension between protesters and the government since there are lots of gray areas involved. However, travelers must know their rights regarding this issue and here are five important things you should know.

Broad Authority To Search

Border agents have a complicated power that it also covers searching through travelers' devices and social media accounts. They are allowed to examine without judge's approval for safety and immigration compliance.  As travelers, one must be patient and compliant to avoid further inconvenience.

To Unlock Your Phone Or Not?

According to the New York Times, if you're placed into a situation where you are asked to open your phone or laptop, one must decide whether the risk of not complying outdoes the point you're fighting for. For American citizens, they can freely enter without compliance but with the possibility of confiscation of the devices and detainment for further inspection. However, those who are not citizens can be denied entry.

Giving Out Social Media Passwords

This is a big no without any justification. Fortune reported that the Supreme Court's ruling includes the exception of thorough examination of a traveler's cell phone since it contains information that needs a warrant. An appeal court in California agrees and suggests that the search should be limited to a quick look at the phone and social media accounts.

How to Prepare?

It is advised to log out your social media accounts since they are only limited to search what is readily accessible in your phone. It may also be best to travel with less data and encrypt them if possible.

What to Do If Interrogated?

You must be focused and weigh the consequences. If there is no personal info that might put you in danger, it is best to comply. But if you feel it goes beyond your right, you are allowed to request a lawyer.

With the new laws and threats, the border agents' scope have increased in searching and investigating. As a traveler, you must be aware of your rights to avoid any form of injustice. 

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