Immigration asking for your social media US

R Cameron

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No, I don’t think it is common for US citizens to be asked questions in an interview room if they’re gone for 6 months.
I totally agree, and I've been back to the US a few times after 1 year+ in Indonesia, I've been sent to the line with all the brown people and head coverings, had a few seemingly extra questions about my business and income in Indonesia, but that's it. No interview room, no bags searched.

US citizens don’t have to answer any questions at all, and can refuse to have devices inspected. I guess they could get a warrant to inspect a device, but it’s very uncommon.
That's only half true. A US citizen entering the US does not have to answer questions, but you should expect a long detainment and similar troubles on all future entries. Citizens are not required to unlock devices, but the current laws/regulations/court decisions do allow them to confiscate any device you refuse to unlock.
 

Puspawarna

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As a US citizen I traveled in and out of the US 4-6 times/year between 1998 and 2018, and was never subjected to an interview. Of course, I'm super white and have an Anglo-Saxon last name.

However, in the years following September 11, 2001, my whole family has been subjected to extra screening on a number of occasions - probably because our passports were covered with stamps from Indonesia and Egypt.

This never happened to me while I was traveling alone, but both my husband and son got extra screening on occasions when either traveling alone or with one or more family members.

The evidence suggests that a variety of factors (name, gender, age, and the assortment of countries you travel to/reside in) can affect the level of scrutiny you receive. As little old white lady living in Hawaii and traveling very little, I'm probably home free now. While that's nice for me personally, I have tons of sympathy for people whose profile is different. In recent years I haven't witnessed anything terrible, but until 2010 or so there were occasions when I witnessed people taken aside for extra screening in ways that seemed unfair and racially charged.
 

harryopal

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Jaime C said:
US citizens don’t have to answer any questions at all, and can refuse to have devices inspected. I guess they could get a warrant to inspect a device, but it’s very uncommon.
==================

I can't imagine that exercising your rights as a US citizen is going to make the enforcement people well disposed towards you. And with extra security powers now maybe they can give you a biff in the earhole to make the point.

With Australian Customs laws based on British law the Customs people have extraordinary powers to do with getting the King's every penny. So they can pretty well search wherever and do what they want. Back when the Customs people in Melbourne used to raid China town without having to get search warrants the police used to piggie back with these raids as it saved them the tedious problem of getting warrants as normally required with police searches.
 

Balifrog

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Lovely democratic countries ........

Both (US and Aus) on my blacklist. Even rejected a job posting in each of them. I dont need this hassle.
 

Helpful Herbert

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Once on a flight into the US a passenger said something threatening to a stewardess and was met by police on landing at LAX. However he still got through passport control quicker than I did, since I was invited into the special room, and while waiting next to an Afghani in a wheelchair I saw that guy happily making his way out by himself.
The second thing I remember was that the genius who was doing the questioning asked me what the last Middle Eastern country I had been to was. Since I was hoping they wouldn't see my Iran visa I said Sri Lanka, to which he replied "that's fine"!
 

snpark

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The second thing I remember was that the genius who was doing the questioning asked me what the last Middle Eastern country I had been to was. Since I was hoping they wouldn't see my Iran visa I said Sri Lanka, to which he replied "that's fine"!

I had that also, but I was honest and said "Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Dubai, Switzerland" in the last 2 weeks. Ooops Stupid me to be so honest. Next time I will just say Dubai only.
 

jukung11

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R Cameron is correct. If you are a U.S. citizen, they can confiscate anything you are importing to the United States including an electronic device. They cannot force you to give the password. Almost every circuit court has held that passwords are testimonial and protected under the 5th amendment. Only a the Northern District of California has ruled that a fingerprint is also testimonial. So in all other airports, they can get a warrant to force you to unlock the phone with your fingerprint if you already gave the device fingerprint access. There is no published evidence that the U.S. government has been able to access Iphone 6 and above encryption. No evidence that they have been able to crack standard 256 bit encryption like BitLocker that is standard in modern windows computers. You can sue for the return of your device later.

If you are a U.S. citizen they must let you back into the country. They can deny entry to foreign citizens.

The problem is that most of the test cases that establish the legal boundaries are child pornography cases. No judge wants to limit the evidence against the defendant.

Most further screening and device reviews are auto created. AI has been looking for patterns of activity of financial transactions, online searches, and destinations of travel to determine who likely posses evidence of a crime. As I mentioned, child pornography is major focus. Poor Southeast Asian countries are considered destinations for child predators, so travelers to those nations are at a higher risk of search. The number of electronic devices, such as multiple phones, hard drives, computers, and thumb drives is also considered a red flag for border patrol.

In the past 6 years, other agencies (FBI, IRS) have gotten wise to the lack of rights at the border and routinely flag people for secondary searches by CBP because they would never be able to get a warrant for the evidence.
 

jukung11

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I wanted to do a separate post for the thread drift and the original article. Asking for social media accounts and logins of visa applicants (especially visitor visas) been standard practice for a long time. I guess it is just finally being formalized in the Federal Register. Prior travel and return to the applicants home country has been a formal factor in deciding visitor visas for a long time.

This was a common post on other forums from Indonesians looking to get a visitor visa to the United States. It was usually a visa application to visit a lover. Sometimes, they were secretly economic migrants instead of tourists. Most of the people that would complain of being rejected, were pretty obviously looking to violate the visa requirements. If they could post about it online, I could imagine the state department was able to find it.
 

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