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Authority of CBP Agents: Oh Yes They Can!

At ports-of-entry Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) Agents have the authority to search people and their personal affects such as purses, luggage, computers and vehicles.  This rule may also apply to outgoing traffic of people who are departing the United States.  CBP Agents do not need a warrant or even reason to suspect an individual is engaged in illegal activity prior to performing a search.  Click here to view a short video on “Border Crossing 101.”
Between ports-of-entry, CBP Agents may search for noncitizens on any railway car, aircraft, conveyance, or vehicle within 100 air-miles of the border.  CBP Agents may pull over cars to question occupants if they have “reasonable suspicion” of unlawful activity.  In addition, CBP Agents may search for noncitizens on private lands, but not actual dwellings within 25 miles of the border.  A warrant is not necessary to conduct these searches.
CBP Agents can interrogate any person believed to be an alien regarding their right to be or remain in the U.S. provided the immigration officials believe a person is an alien before beginning questioning.
CBP Agents may arrest any noncitizen who they believe is entering or attempting to enter the U.S. in violation of any law.  They may also arrest any noncitizen who they conclude is in the U.S. in violation of law and who is likely to escape before a warrant can be issued.  In addition, arrests can be made for any offense against the U.S. committed in the presence of an officer, or for any felony that an Agent has reasonable grounds to believe a person has committed.  CBP Agents do not require a warrant to make these arrests, however they must be in the course of duties related to the enforcement of immigration laws.
Rosanna Berardi is well-versed in all areas of U.S. immigration regulations.  We would be happy to work with you if you require the services of an experienced immigration attorney.  Please contact us by calling 877-721-6100 or send an e-mail by clicking here.