What Are Your Rights In An Airport? Part 1/2

Are you thinking of traveling and wondering what to expect when you go through the border at the airport? What are your rights in an airport?

According to the ACLU, these questions will tell you what some of your rights in an airport are:

Can you be stopped and searched?

Even with all your paperwork in line, a customs officer can stop, detail and search anyone coming through the border. They can also search your items and it doesn't have to be because it looks suspicious. It's unclear legally if airport officers are allowed to search electronic devices of individuals. Customs officers are not allowed to conduct personal searches of people based on discriminatory selection. Basically, they can't single you out for a search based on your religion, political beliefs, gender, ethnicity, national origin, or race.

Could an officer ask you about your immigration status?

Yes, they can ask about your immigration status and it's expected that you answer. If you are a citizen and you refuse to answer you may experience delays and further inspections. If you are a non-citizen who is a visa holder, and you refuse to answer the officer's questions they could deny you entry into the U.S. If you are denied entry into the U.S. and are terrified of being sent back because you may be tortured in the country you came from, then you can inform the officer and ask for asylum.

Can an officer ask you about your religious beliefs and/or political beliefs and deny you entry into the country due to those beliefs?

If an officer asks these questions, a citizen may refuse to answer them. However, if they do answer them, the officer cannot deny a citizen entry into the U.S. based on those answers. That would infringe upon the citizen's Constitutional rights. If a non-citizen refuses to answer these questions they could face delays, further inspections and denial of entry into the U.S.

Can a officer look at your phone or laptop. Do you have to provide your password?

It's unclear legally what a citizen's rights are, however, refusing to provide an officer a password cannot result in denial of entry into the U.S. If a non-citizen refuses, though, then they might face delays and or denial of entry.

If you've had your rights infringed upon or have further questions about what your rights in an airport are, consult an experienced attorney.


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