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Amrita N. Narine and Reshma Shah

Imagine you are returning to the United States after traveling abroad. You have been randomly selected for a search at the border by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). They request that you provide the passwords for both your work phone and work laptop. What do you do? As an attorney, you are likely to have privileged information on such devices. Regardless of whether you are a U.S. citizen or not, CBP can make your life difficult if you refuse. If you are a citizen or legal permanent resident, they will have to let you back into the country, but they can take temporary custody of your device for further examination. If you are not a citizen, CBP has the right to refuse you entry into the United States.

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