Over the Border, Under What Law: The Circuit Split over Searches of Electronic Devices on the Border

Ashley N. Gomez.

On January 30, 2017, Sidd Bikkannavar arrived at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, Texas from a trip to Chile. He had taken a few weeks off from work to go on a personal trip to pursue his hobby of racing solar-powered cars. He is a natural-born U.S. citizen, an employee of a federal agency—NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory—and a “seasoned international traveler.” After U.S. Custom and Border Protection (“CBP”) processed Sidd’s passport, a CBP officer detained him and brought him into a separate room within the airport. There, the CBP officer questioned him about where he came from, where he lived, and where he worked.6 The CBP officers questioned Sidd on information they already possessed through his membership in CBP’s “Global Entry” program—an expedited clearance program for “pre-approved, low-risk travelers” returning to the U.S.

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