Senators Not Thrilled About Laptop Searches At The Border

from the back-off,-customs dept

It would appear that the EFF's efforts to get Congress to look into laptop searches at the border has worked. This is over the question of whether or not it's legal, with no suspicion of wrongdoing, for customs officials to take your laptop and search through the contents. Even if the courts have said it's legal, it still seems quite troubling to many people who believe it's an unreasonable search. Some Senators have now asked Customs to reconsider its stance on this, with Senator Russ Feingold noting:
"If you asked [U.S. residents] whether the government has a right to open their laptops, read their documents and e-mails, look at their photographs, and examine the Web sites they have visited, all without any suspicion of wrongdoing, I think those same Americans would say that the government has absolutely no right to do that. And if you asked him whether that actually happens, they would say, 'not in the United States of America.'"
Somehow, I doubt that these hearings will lead to much, but at least someone in DC is concerned about this issue.

Filed Under: border searches, customs, eff, laptops, senate


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  1. identicon
    BTR1701, 30 Jun 2008 @ 6:11am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: checking things at the border

    > Wow, I've never read so vapid an argument.

    Well, you've certainly made some of your own that are far more vapid.

    > The ONLY logically valid argument in favor of
    > our current draconian immigration laws

    If you think our current approach to illegal immigration (which is basically to throw open our borders and hope for the best while ignoring the millions of people who are flooding across) is draconian, then I can't imagine what horrors you would foist on us should you ever be in a position of authority.

    And if you think that's the only valid argument against unchecked illegal immigration and lax border control, then you're not thinking very hard.

    In the course of my job I've had occasion to talk with agents of ICE and Border Patrol and they talk about how 10 years ago, between one and five out every 100 illegals caught along the border would be what they call OTM (other than Mexican) and of those, they were usually from other Latin American countries like Guatemala or Honduras. Now they're finding a ratio of 15-30 per 100 are OTMs and they aren't just from Latin American countries anymore. They're from countries like Pakistan, Syria and Afghanistan. Ranchers along the border routinely find Islamic prayer rugs and Arabic newspapers discarded on their land. And when it's reported, the politicians and upper-level officials in the government just don't want to hear it, just like they didn't want to hear the FBI field agents ten years ago who were telling them they had Middle Eastern guys taking flight lessons who had no interest in learning how to land the plane.

    All this hand-wringing over national security and fighting a "war on terror" in Iraq and Afghanistan is absolute nonsense if no effort is made to secure our borders. You don't go out into the city to hunt down potential thieves while at the same time leaving the doors and windows to your home wide open.

    > "We don't want their kind here."

    Exactly. Though not in the way I'm sure you're implying. (It's typical for anyone on the pro-illegal side of this issue to immediately start hurling accusations of racism in an attempt to shut down the debate.)

    But yes, we don't want their kind here: specifically the kind of people who have no respect for the law and who want to take advantage of all this country has to offer without any desire to actually become a part of it and its culture.

    It's interesting that the local paper had an article this morning about how the recent crackdown and mass deportations in Prince Georges County Maryland has seen a dramatic decrease in local crime-- everything from murders and rapes to petty theft and break-ins. Not only are they instantly deporting every illegal the police come across but this enforcement measure has caused all the other illegals to flee the county to avoid being caught and what do you know, the crime rate plummeted. But I'm sure that's just an amazing coincidence, huh?

    > With the advent of international outsourcing
    > comes far greater opportunities to take advantage
    > of laborers while offering next to nothing in return.

    If you're so concerned about the plight of illegals, then you should be in favor of *stricter* border control and immigration law, not vice versa. The reason big business loves the illegal labor pool is they can exploit them, pay them less than minimum and know that there's nothing they can do about it-- if they complain to the authorities, they'll get deported.

    Why is the USA the only country in the world that is expected (upon pain of racism) to surrender control of its borders? Even the leftist darling countries of Europe have stricter immigration controls than we do. But every time the U.S. does *anything* to tighten controls on the border and/or enforce immigration law, let alone make the law stricter, the Mexican government complains and says it's a human-rights violation and that America is racist, etc.

    Yet Mexico itself has the strictest and harshest immigration law in the entire Western Hemisphere. If you're caught in Mexico as an illegal alien, you don't just get ticketed and released. You go to prison. And even legal immigrants face strict laws regarding what they can and cannot do-- they are prohibited from owning property in Mexico, for example. And non-citizens are prohibited by law from doing anything that might influence a Mexican election. Yet Mexico routinely sends people north to lobby our legislatures and to wage PR campaigns against various ballot measures and politicians who want to tougher border control. It's a crime for us to influence their politics but they have no problem sticking their noses into ours.

    Personally, I think we should take the Mexican immigration statute, translate it into English and pass it into law here in America. I mean, how could they complain if we simply adopted their own law? How could they claim we're racists but they aren't?

    > Asshat.

    And now we've reached the ad hominem portion of your "argument". Typical.

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