Learn how you can be an ally and fight discrimination
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents are authorized to ask you questions in order to determine whether you are allowed to enter the United States. U.S. citizens have the right to have an attorney present during questioning. Be aware, however, that invoking this right may lead to delays and possible detention while you wait for your lawyer.
If you are detained or held in custody, do not physically resist arrest. U.S. citizens have the right to an attorney but you must ask for one. You have the right to remain silent, which means you are not required to answer any questions or sign any documents until you are able to speak with an attorney. Non-U.S. citizens have the right to an attorney for any questioning that goes beyond immigration status. The government will provide you with an attorney at their own expense but you have the right to retain a private attorney or call a legal services organization that may provide pro bono representation. You have the right to speak to your own consulate.
CBP agents have the right to stop, detain, and search any person or item at the airport or border, they may not search you based on your race, national origin, religion, sex, or political beliefs. Your bags may be search even if the metal detectors do not reveal anything suspicious. However, intrusive searches such as strip searches or repeated detentions require reasonable suspicion of illegal activity.
Officers may ask to search your electronic devices (laptops, phones, tablets, and other handheld devices). You do not have to consent and may ask them for a warrant. There are steps you can take before traveling in order to protect the electronic files. U.S. citizens cannot be denied entry to the U.S. if you refuse to provide access to your device or turn over encryption keys and passwords. However, refusal may lead to lengthy questioning or detention. Green card holders and visa holders may refuse to provide access to their devices or turn over encryption keys and passwords but doing so may complicate entry into the U.S., including denial of entry.
You have the right to wear religious headgear. If an officer asks you to remove it, you can assert your right to wear it. If an alarm goes off when you walk through a metal detector, the officer is allowed to use a hand-wand to determine if the alarm is triggered by your headgear. If it is, you may be asked to remove your headgear or have a pat-down done. You have the right to request that these actions take place in a private area.