ABA expresses concern to Homeland Security over lawyer searches

American Bar Association President Linda Klein sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) expressing concerns over standards that permit U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers to search and review the content of lawyers’ laptop computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices at U.S. border crossings without any showing of reasonable suspicion.

The ABA also asked DHS to modify and clarify the relevant CBP and ICE policies to state that when a lawyer is traveling across the border with an electronic device containing privileged or confidential electronic documents, those documents cannot be read, duplicated, seized or shared—unless the officer first obtains a subpoena based on reasonable suspicion or a warrant supported by probable cause.