Claims that the Supreme Court has allowed groundless searches within 100 miles of the US border are false. Here’s what the court actually did.
The US Supreme Court on June 8 issued a ruling in a case involving federal agents who allegedly violated the constitutional rights of citizens.
After the verdict numerous tweets went viral and claimed the court just gave US Border Patrol agents the power to search homes without a warrant, so long as those homes are within 100 miles of the US border.
“The Supreme Court just ruled that border police can enter any home without a warrant and attack you within 100 miles of the border,” read one tweet.
“The border … is a constitutional zone,” he said Another.
The claims often indicate that the vast majority of Americans live within that 100-mile limit.
Can Border Patrol Agents Legally Search Your Home Without a Warrant If You Live Within 100 Miles of the US Border?
No, border guards cannot search homes without a warrant just because they are within 100 miles of the border. However, a recent Supreme Court ruling limited citizens’ ability to seek damages when their constitutional rights are violated.
WHAT WE FOUND
The Supreme Court ruling that led to the viral tweets does not change what federal agents can and cannot do when it comes to searching private property. However, it changes what citizens can do when their rights are violated by such agents.
So first, let’s break down what these rights are and where the “100 mile limit” claims come from.
In most cases, law enforcement cannot stop and search you without a probable cause, a search warrant, or your permission.
This is because of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, which states that “The right of the people to the protection of their person, home, papers and property from unreasonable search and seizure shall not be violated… but for a probable cause. ”
However, a federal law in 1952 provided some sort of exception for border security. The Immigration and Nationality Act states that agents “within a reasonable distance from any external border of the United States” without a warrant “may board any ship in United States territorial waters and any railroad car and search for aliens, aircraft, conveyance or vehicle.”
It defines “reasonable distance” as “100 air miles from any external border of the United States” and the boundary as “land borders and territorial sea of the United States extending 12 nautical miles from the baselines of the United States”.
In other words, within 100 miles of the border — a huge chunk of the country — agents can stop cars or buses and ask for ID, and don’t need a search warrant, probable cause, or permission to do so. However, you need one of these justifications to do more than that legally – like search the vehicle for contraband.
This 100-mile limit applies to vehicles but not buildings, meaning agents still need legal justification, such as B. a search warrant to enter a house or business.
Closer to the border, however, the law grants agents additional access. There it says: “within a distance of twenty-five miles from any such outer limit [they may] Have access to private land, but not homes, to patrol the border to prevent illegal entry of aliens into the United States.”
The law specifically states that homes are off-limits, meaning that even within a 25-mile zone, border patrol agents cannot enter your home without permission, a warrant, or probable cause.
The ACLU claims that “in practice, border patrol agents routinely ignore or misunderstand the limits of their legal authority over the course of individual stops, resulting in violations of the constitutional rights of innocent people.”
Legally, citizens can take the following actions if they believe a federal agent has violated their rights.
First, if an agent obtains evidence against you in an unconstitutional search, that evidence may be excluded from a court proceeding.
Second, you can sue for injunctive relief. This essentially means that a court would order the agency not to re-engage in the behavior that violated your rights.
Third, you can file an administrative complaint with the competent authority. The agency would then conduct an internal investigation and possibly take action against the agent involved.
Fourth, you may file your complaint in federal court under the Federal Tort Claims Act if you seek pecuniary damages or an outside review of the agency’s conduct. To do this, you must first file an FTCA claim with the appropriate authority. After the agency has done their verification, they can decide to settle with you and pay compensation. If they reject your claim or fail to consider your claim within a certain period of time, you can take them to court and sue for damages.
Fifth and last, there is another, rarer measure called a biven Action named after the 1972 Supreme Court case Bivens against six unknown named agents. This case set a precedent for suing individual federal agents in court for constitutional violations and obtaining broader damages. And that’s what the Supreme Court’s recent decision was all about.
THE RECENT JUDGMENT OF THE SUPREME COURT
The circumstances in which citizens could sue agents under a biven Action were already limited; the new verdict made them even more so.
The decision of June 8, 2022 – Egbert v. boules — dealt with a man named Robert Boule who claimed that border agent Erik Egbert violated his Fourth Amendment rights by entering his property without permission and then attacked him when he protested.
Boule sued Egbert in one biven suing for damages for using excessive force and violating his constitutional rights. A district court sided with Egbert, but an appeals court sided with Boule.
The original biven established a narrow framework for the circumstances under which such lawsuits may be won, and subsequent Supreme Court rulings narrowed that framework even further.
The conservative 6-3 majority ruled that Boule’s claim fell outside of that framework and so further narrowed it down to the point where a was won biven Trading is almost impossible. This was intentional; The judges said it should be up to Congress, not the courts, to decide whether citizens should be able to sue individual federal agents for damages.
The case does not significantly address immigration and nationality law or the actual rules for search and seizure near the US border. By severely limiting the performance of biven Measures, the court limited recourse for citizens who believe federal agents violated their constitutional rights.
“The court did not specifically say that the Fourth Amendment does not apply to customs and border protection officials,” said Howard Wasserman, a law professor at Florida International University, who also wrote about it Egbert Case for SCOTUSblog. “It didn’t say they could just walk into your home without a warrant, it didn’t say they could use excessive force whenever they wanted. What it was like when that happens… They don’t have this one specific cure when they do that.”
“Well, that’s no small matter,” he said. “This particular compound may have a very strong deterrent effect. So if you take remedies away, the rights become kind of meaningless… if there isn’t a mechanism to hold the officer accountable and remedy, then the right doesn’t do much.”
VERIFY contacted US Customs and Border Protection for comment; The agency has not provided any at the time of publication.
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https://www.king5.com/article/news/verify/courts/no-warrantless-home-searches-not-legal-within-100-miles-of-us-border/536-666dd49d-b4d7-47f3-bf96-cbdfde085693 Warrant still required for home search near US border