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On what authority is cell phone use banned at Customs?

On what authority is cell phone use banned at Customs?

Old Mar 23, 16, 6:37 am
  #121  
 
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Originally Posted by DIFIN View Post
It would be if the airport is within 100 mi of a border or the ocean, thanks to the (un)patriot act.....
It's been around a lot longer than that:

The regulations establishing the 100-mile border zone were adopted by the U.S. Department of Justice in 1953—without any public comments or debate.
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Old Mar 30, 16, 4:50 pm
  #122  
 
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Originally Posted by Flaflyer View Post

As for "constitutional rights", it is my understanding that the US Constitution does not apply in other countries. Until CBP is done with you, that is you have cleared both immigration and customs, you are not IN the US. You are still in the country you came from or you are in an international no mans land.

Firstly, the US government is bound by the Constitution world-wide. Secondly, if it were true that you are "not in the US" at immigration, then obviously CBP would have no authority. If they have authority, then by definition you are on US territory.
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Old Apr 1, 16, 4:21 pm
  #123  
 
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Correct, and in fact it is a complete and all-too-common myth about "transit zones" being "international territory". They are still very much territory of that country and everything is bound by those country's laws. They just give preferential treatment as a custom, rather than requirement of any sort (like duty-free shopping etc).
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Old Sep 19, 19, 10:10 am
  #124  
 
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Originally Posted by gonebabygone View Post
I was going through US customs in YUL in January, and while the agent was looking over my passport, I pulled out my phone to check the time. The guy yelled at me and, I kid you not, threatened to detain me and make me miss my flight! All for *looking* at my cell phone! Ahh, power trips.
This is an interesting situation. US pre-clearance is just that, and the land you're standing on continues to be Canadian soil.

So a polite "What Canadian Law prohibits the use of my phone" to a US CBP officer; will shut that down immediately.
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Old Sep 19, 19, 10:29 am
  #125  
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Originally Posted by CZBB View Post
This is an interesting situation. US pre-clearance is just that, and the land you're standing on continues to be Canadian soil.

So a polite "What Canadian Law prohibits the use of my phone" to a US CBP officer; will shut that down immediately.
Not if you want to be admitted to the USA as a visitor
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Old Sep 19, 19, 1:17 pm
  #126  
 
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Originally Posted by bocastephen View Post
Not if you want to be admitted to the USA as a visitor
Absoultely, they can still refuse you entry (on any whim they like).

However A US customs & immigration officer in Canada, is in Canada, and must follow (for the most part) Canadian law.
Him quoting a US law/regulation/etc claiming cell phones are prohibited, isn't a legit legit argument.

The law in Canada can ban the use of technology (such as photography) of 'national security interests', but that would be in Canada, hence it's legal for Canada to ban taking pictures of CATSA security at an airport; and it's completely OK to take pictures of the TSA in the USA.
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Old Sep 22, 19, 8:44 am
  #127  
 
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1. The signage / obey-instructions reg is dependent on authority to make the instruction or rule on the sign to begin with. It's just "obey lawful orders". It's not a source of authority.
2. Responses of the form "try doing otherwise, they'll arrest / assault / etc you" are despicable fascism, not justifications. Having physical power does not make an act lawful. (And actually, there is case law saying that physically resisting an arrest with no lawful basis, to the minimum amount of force necessary, is perfectly legal. It is, however, likely to get you very illegally murdered by said police.)
3. Responses of the form "it might be useful because X" are not answers to "on what authority".
4. There's a 1st Amendment & common law right to record the police, upheld in lots of cases against state laws purporting to limit that. That is not different at the border.
5. The "constitution-free zone" thing refers to the lowered 4th Amendment standard: in short, if it's related to border security, searches that normally require probable cause only require reasonable suspicion, and searches that normally require reasonable suspicion require no more than a whim. Refusal of entry is virtually without limit for non-citizens, including for pure BS like "because you took video of us", but citizens can't be denied entry on that basis. (It could however be used as a pretext for more search.)
6. I've wanted to know the answer to the OP's question too, and I have never found one. I rather doubt it has any lawful authority.
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Old Sep 22, 19, 10:20 am
  #128  
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Originally Posted by CZBB View Post
This is an interesting situation. US pre-clearance is just that, and the land you're standing on continues to be Canadian soil.

So a polite "What Canadian Law prohibits the use of my phone" to a US CBP officer; will shut that down immediately.
This is true of all Pre-Clearance situations. There is not even a requirement that one complete processing, one simply does not board the flight for the US. The worst that can happen at Pre-Clearance is that one is denied boarding (unless, of course, whatever it is also violates local law).
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Old Sep 22, 19, 11:10 am
  #129  
 
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Originally Posted by CZBB View Post
Absoultely, they can still refuse you entry (on any whim they like)
lol I wish that was the case.

Thankfully it's not.

This has got to be the most widely used myth about CBP on the internet.
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Old Oct 7, 19, 11:17 am
  #130  
 
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Originally Posted by Sopwith View Post
In the airport waiting areas for both US and Canadian Customs there are signs purporting to prohibit the use of cell phones while in line. Recently I observed a US Customs guy yelling at pax waiting in a lengthy line who were using cell phones. On what authority is this prohibition made?
Hire a lawyer. They can get you a real answer. What you get on Flyertalk may be useful for travel things, but specific legal questions will only be answered in a qualified way by an attorney. Should you disagree with the rule and be impacted by it, you can always go to the court system. I'm thinking that it won't go anywhere and an attorney will tell you that it will be a monumental waste of your time. At least you'll have your actual answer.
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Old Oct 13, 19, 2:13 pm
  #131  
 
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Originally Posted by maninblack View Post
lol I wish that was the case.

Thankfully it's not.

This has got to be the most widely used myth about CBP on the internet.
Er, actually it basically is true, at least for non US nationals who don't have an established legal relationship with the US like a visa, green card, etc. Basically the only enforceable recourse a foreign national denied a visa (aka permission to enter the US) has is to get an explanation of the denial. Courts don't even exercise jurisdiction over the reasonability of the denial.

There are of course some caveats, like with everything, but that's the basic summary.
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Old Oct 13, 19, 2:37 pm
  #132  
 
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Originally Posted by saizai View Post
Er, actually it basically is true, at least for non US nationals who don't have an established legal relationship with the US like a visa, green card, etc. Basically the only enforceable recourse a foreign national denied a visa (aka permission to enter the US) has is to get an explanation of the denial. Courts don't even exercise jurisdiction over the reasonability of the denial.

There are of course some caveats, like with everything, but that's the basic summary.
source? experience? legal reference as to my/our/CBPs option to send someone back home on "any whim?"
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Old Oct 17, 19, 3:45 pm
  #133  
 
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Originally Posted by maninblack View Post
source? experience? legal reference as to my/our/CBPs option to send someone back home on "any whim?"
It's well-established international law that even passengers holding a visa are not GUARANTEED entry into any country. That said, CBP SHOULD have a reason to deny entry and in normal times I would expect that. But their powers have been expanded more and more and by the way I see them treating people it would not shock me in the least. One's ability to contest a refusal is also limited.

TheIntercept.com (an investigative journalism website) has a LOT of articles on CBP and the application of detention, deportation, etc with questionable cause. Read their report on the low (practically non-existent) bar required to have someone included on a watch list. Basically it could be any angry cop (you pissed him off), CBP official, whoever... you get put on a list and they make your life impossible. For a long time and with no recourse.

They also revealed the existence of a scoring system... something I was also told IN PERSON in Madrid once...

All quite frightening. <redacted>?
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Last edited by TWA884; Oct 17, 19 at 4:25 pm Reason: Political commentary better left for OMNI/PR
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Old Nov 11, 19, 2:50 am
  #134  
 
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I have read all of the replies and feel the need to reply. Those signs that prohibit use of cell phones is known as "policy" and mean nothing. Notice there is no law number listed that says under what law it's illegal. I sometimes do something called first amendment audit and have educated many federal /state /local officials. In fact there is DHS memo of 2010 that says filming of federal /military facility is legal. If that is legal, using your cell phone to talk and even film is also legal. Basically you can ignore any directive they give and even can flip them off. Lastly remember that us citizens can't be refused access once their identity been established. Many federal employees think their directive mean something when in reality it mean nothing
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Old Nov 17, 19, 10:47 pm
  #135  
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So I just noticed that this thread has gained some legs since I first asked the question almost nine years ago. I’ve skimmed through the last two or three pages, and what I take from it is this: There are two answers: the legal one and the practical one that applies in real life.

The legal answer is that there is no legal authority.

The practical answer is that if you question it or mess with them they’ll make your life difficult. On this point, it is well known that one must beware of big power in the hands of small people. This problem is particularly acute with customs and immigration people, IME.

Since misbehaviour among customs people is prevalent, the reason for the “policy” is probably that they don’t want you recording their faces and actions. Same reason many airline employees remove or cover their name tags.
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