Alasaad v. Mayorkas

988 F.3d 8 (2021)

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Alasaad v. Mayorkas

United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
988 F.3d 8 (2021)

  • Written by Tiffany Hester, JD

Facts

United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) established policies governing basic and advanced searches of electronic devices at the border. The policies defined an advanced search as connecting external equipment to the device to review, copy, and analyze the device’s existing content. The policies defined a basic search as manually inspecting the device’s existing content, excluding deleted or encrypted content. The policies required the officer to have reasonable suspicion of a national-security threat or a transnational crime to conduct an advanced search. However, the policies permitted basic searches without reasonable suspicion. The policies also allowed officers to detain electronic devices for a brief, reasonable time to conduct the search but required supervisor approval for extended detentions. Ghassan Alasaad and several other travelers (collectively, the travelers) (plaintiffs) whose electronic devices were subjected to basic searches at the border sued several CBP and ICE officials, including Alejandro Mayorkas (defendants). The travelers alleged that the CBP and ICE policies violated the Fourth Amendment because the policies allowed searches without warrants or probable cause and did not effectively limit the duration of device detention. The district court held that all border searches of electronic devices, whether basic or advanced, required reasonable suspicion that the device contained contraband. Accordingly, the district court declared the policies unconstitutional. Both parties appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Lynch, J.)

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