The latest lawsuit against the Trump administration is charging that border agents engage in the unconstitutional practice of warrantless searches of phones and laptops of Americans who are stopped at the border.
The suit, filed in a U.S. District Court in Massachusetts, is being brought by travelers who include a military veteran, a NASA engineer, two journalists and a computer programmer. The Electronic Frontier Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union, who are representing the travelers, said that several of the plaintiffs are Muslim or minorities, according to a Reuters report.
It should be noted that the EFF is funded to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars by activist billionaire George Soros.
It’s also been reported that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has moved beyond its original charter as a legal advocate for individual rights under the Constitution to actively taking a hand in training and organizing protest groups throughout the country.
Their shift in focus came just over a month after reports emerged that George Soros was sinking tens of millions into the group through his affiliated organizations. Articles prominently featured by the ACLU announcing the shift towards actively organizing anti-government protests are authored by a former employee of Soros-funded groups. The startling shift indicates that the ACLU has decided to participate in Soros driven protest movements with the goal of subverting American democracy and driving regime change in the United States.
Suhaib Allababidi, a U.S. citizen who lives in Texas and a plaintiff in the case, told reporters how he was stopped by Customs and Border Patrol on Jan. 21 at the Dallas Airport after returning from a business trip to Dubai.
Allababidi said he declined to unlock his personal phone for the officers after allowing them to search his separate business phone. The officers confiscated both phones and returned his business phone to him two months later. The government has still not returned his personal phone after more than seven months, he said.
“You are left in the dark with no answers,” Allababidi said. “Will I get my phone back? Did I do anything wrong? They took my phone, and that’s all I know.”
Generally, U.S. law enforcement is required to obtain a warrant before it can search an American’s electronic devices. However, there’s a border search exception which allows federal authorities to conduct searches within 100 miles (160 km) of a U.S. border without a warrant.
In April, Democratic Senator Ron Wyden and Republican Senator Rand Paul introduced legislation that would require a warrant before federal agents search devices at the border that belong to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, except in some emergency circumstances.
U.S. Customs and Border Patrol reported in April that searches increased from 8,500 in fiscal year 2015 to around 19,000 in fiscal year 2016. The agency has conducted nearly 15,000 searches in the first half of fiscal year 2017, according to Reuters.
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