Bill Introduced to Strengthen Privacy Protections At U.S. Borders
July 25, 2019
U.S. Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) have reintroduced legislation that would strengthen privacy protections through limiting warrantless border searches. Customs and Border Protection officials are currently authorized to stop and search drivers without a warrant or even reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing within 100 miles of any U.S. border. They can also search private land within 25 miles of the border. In practice, this means government officers have authority to conduct searches without cause in a region that includes nearly two-thirds of the U.S. population. The Border Zone Reasonableness Restoration Act of 2019 would reduce the "border zone" from 100 miles to 25 miles and only allow officers access to private property within 10 miles of the border. A companion bill was introduced in the House of Representatives by Representative Peter Welch (D-Vt.). EPIC has long advocated against privacy-invasive border surveillance and has filed numerous lawsuits to force CBP and Immigration and Customs Enforcement to be more transparent about their border surveillance practices.