Government Directive Addresses Traveler’s Attempt To Prevent Search In A Timely Fashion

From Liberty Fight

After reading an excellent article by Scott M. Fulton, III entitled DHS: Expect your computer to be seized without suspicion, I clicked on one of the four links he included, Border Searches of Electronic Devices. Referred to as ‘Directive No. 7-6.1″ and issued on August 19, 2009, the ICE Immigrations & Customs Enforcement document contains some interesting info which deserves to be examined. Few people probably read such dry directives, so I read it and have posted a brief overview of the interesting and relevent sections of it.

Section 1.1 begins “This Directive provides legal guidance and establishes policy and procedures within U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) with regard to border search authority to search, detain, seize, retain, and share information contained in electronic devices possessed by individuals at the border, the functional equivalent of the border”… Let’s stop right there. The term “functional equivalent of the border” is a tricky and subjective term, as evidenced by the great work of Terry Bressi of, and his refusal to answer questions at internal suspicionless checkpoints coducted by ICE. I highly recommend his videos to everyone as an excellent educational tool as to how to exert your rights.

Moving further into the document, once again the bugaboo of ‘terr’ism’ and drug smuggling are used as a pretext to seize computers and cell phones, cameras, and any other number of devices:

4. BACKGROUND. ICE is responsible for ensuring compliance with customs, immigration, and other Federal laws at the border. To that end, Special Agents may review and analyze computers, disks, hard drives, and other electronic or digital storage devices. These searches are part of ICE’S long-standing practice and are essential to enforcing the law at the United States border. Searches of electronic devices are a crucial tool for detecting information concerning terrorism, narcotics smuggling, and other national security matters; alien admissibility; contraband including child pornography; laundering monetary instruments; violations of copyright or trademark laws; and evidence of embargo violations or other import or export control laws.

5.2 Electronic Devices. Any item that may contain information, such as computers, disks, drives, tapes, mobile phones and other communication devices, cameras, music players, and any other electronic or digital devices.

“Individualized suspicion” is not required to seize property, according to ICE, although one sections pays lip service to “constitutional, privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties training”:


Much more info at the source


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