The Department of Homeland Security recently issued a fact sheet regarding its enhanced aviation security measures for all commercial flights to the United States. The measures include heightened screening of personal electronic devices. Inspection of these devices could include viewing a passenger’s e-mails and documents on the electronic device. Therefore, it is very important that any e-mails and documents you have on your laptop or smart phones are consistent with the terms of your immigration status.
Fortunately, e-mails and documents from your lawyer on your device should not be searched. Explain that you have “attorney-client privilege” regarding the communication and documents. Because you are afforded this privilege under the law, outsiders are not allowed to view your documents and communications with your lawyer.
To avoid any possible issues, it is likely best to wipe your phone and e-mails clean before re-entering the United States. Alternatively, if you refuse access of your devices to the immigration officer, you will be denied entry into the U.S. It is best to be prepared for the possibility of a search of your electronic devices and to plan accordingly. Dayzad Law will continue to monitor the changing requirements and screening procedures for our clients.