There's Been A Huge Surge In Phone Searches At The Border Since Trump Took Office

If you’re entering the U.S. anytime soon, you may want to consider wiping your phone first.

Data released by Customs and Border Patrol shows that since President Donald Trump took office, there’s been a 79 percent increase in the number of electronic devices searched at the border.

Between October 2015 and March 2016, CBP searched 8,383 electronic devices. One fiscal year later, that number has jumped to 14,993.

NBC News reported in March that CBP was largely targeting Muslims at the border, adding that phone searches were often accompanied by hostile interrogations of travelers.

At the time, CBP deputy executive assistant commissioner John Wagner wrote in a blog that these kinds of searches “affect fewer than one-hundredth of one percent of international travelers,” and that they have “contributed to national security investigations, arrests for child pornography, and evidence of human trafficking.”

Not everyone agrees. Earlier this month, Republicans and Democrats in the House and the Senate introduced bills geared toward hampering CBP’s ability to search phones at the border.

“Even before the rise in phone searches, we were concerned about and disagreed with the position that CBP had taken, that they could search through cellphones, laptops, and other electronic devices without probable cause or a warrant of any type,” Neema Singh Gulyani, legislative counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union, told VICE News. “What we have been hearing are complaints that reflect the CBP number.”

h/t VICE, NBC News


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