While immigration attorneys fight for citizens to obtain residency or citizenship, it seems there is yet another issue on the rise that appears to be an attempt to limit individuals from traveling in and out of the U.S.
As our new president, Donald J. Trump, has taken office, his concern for allowing illegal immigrants into the U.S. has grown and spread throughout the minds of the American population. People are getting into disputes with random citizens who may be of a foreign decent but were actually born on American soil simply because they have history involving another country. More and more there has been reported discussions going on in the White House involving the president and his attempt to restrict and limit individuals from entering into the U.S., even though they have a green card or are traveling here on a work visa.
Now, things have taken a turn in a more alarming direction as people have been reportedly forced to hand over their cell phones along with their passwords by the U.S. Customs & Border Protection officers in airports and at border crossings. What happened to the Fourth Amendment and our American rights? NBC News highlighted that “under the Fourth Amendment, law enforcement needs at least reasonable suspicion if they want to search people or their possessions within the United States. But not at border crossings, and not at airport terminals.” Some speculation has now been placed on whether law enforcement is exploiting a loophole to collect intelligence.
Just a few weeks ago, individuals were urged to stay put in the U.S. if they were on a visa or even possessed a green card and avoid traveling out of the country. It was said that the President was considering limiting their ability to enter back in which may have caused many vacations, family trips, or even work events to be cancelled. Now, travelers need to be aware that the CPG, Custom Border Patrol, is aggressively enforcing the act of conducting electronic searches.
One couple, who were either naturalized citizens or born here in America, were forced to hand over their cellphones when returning from a trip taken to Canada. When the boyfriend refused, he was taken into a chokehold position and then complied.
A Prior Incident Involving the CBP
While the idea of detaining a cellphone isn’t something that was recently implemented as many are looking to Donald Trump as the initiator of it, fewer accounts were reported prior to the President being elected into office.
Back in 2014, Haisam Elsharkawi was attempting to board his flight out of Los Angeles International Airport but was stopped by six customs officers who notified him that he was “randomly selected” and that he must provide them with his cell phone along with the corresponding password to open it. Obviously, as a naturalized U.S. citizen, Elsharkawi was aware of his rights and didn’t comply. He was then handcuffed, taken to an area in the airport’s lower level, and was questioned. The customs officers inquired about how he even became a citizen.
Although he may have been “randomly selected,” why would it matter how he obtained his citizenship? The fact is, he had rights as an American citizen and they were violated possibly like all the others in the above mentioned cases that recently occurred.
Now the question remains: Is this a tactic to help avoid terrorist attacks on the U.S. or is it a way to take away the freedom people from other countries have earned as they are law abiding citizens?