What if I’m being searched?
The Short Answer: There is no entitlement to representation (access to counsel/solicitor/attorney) for an applicant who wishes to be admitted in either primary or secondary inspection at the airport unless; “has become the focus of a criminal investigation and has been taken into custody.” Access to counsel/solicitor/attorney varies from one office to another from no representation being permitted to permitting representations for various adjudications. It is important that before traveling if you feel your case may have any issues to understand the procedure with CBP for the specific airport(s) you will visit. If you are nervous or unsure contact our office speak with an immigration attorney about your legal rights and options when traveling to the States.
The Details: Personal searches and CBP: There is no access to counsel during the period either in primary or secondary inspection for a person detained for a “personal search”. This includes “significantly intrusive searches of a person to determine whether he or she is carrying contraband on his body close to or inside.”If you do request an attorney during a personal search, CBP guidance says that the officer who is performing the search will advise you that the search that they are performing is not an interrogation and that you are not entitled to an attorney during the search.If you are going to be detained for a personal search for more than two hours then CBP will inform a point of contact (this may include an attorney) of your delay.You will not be permitted to consult with an attorney directly at any time before you are arrested and Miranda warnings are administered and invoked. Deferred inspection: is really a continuation of secondary inspection; therefore there is no right to counsel before deferred inspection. It is only at the discretion of CBP that officers will allow attorneys into deferred inspection if an attorney asks to be present. Our office’s attorneys have been successful in requesting permission to be present with our clients during deferred inspection (this is granted on a case-by-case), if you need an attorney advice about deferred inspection contact our office without delay.