NEW YORK — There are very few people in the United States with more power than an officer of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. At the U.S. border, one person alone can begin a process that could eventually see a visitor’s removal — voluntary or obligatory — from the country. It is a troubling irony for a nation founded on the basis of immigration. The vast majority of people who enter the U.S. come through the Canadian or Mexican border. But more than one quarter of all travelers to the U.S. arrive by air, which following the events over the past few years has seen a dramatic increase in security. Between the moment one passes through security at the departing airport and the moment one passes through customs and immigration checks at the destination port of entry, there is an “airside” environment that still mystifies and fascinates attorneys. It is an international legal phenomenon that is left much to the discretion of host countries. The rights that travelers — citizens or otherwise — enjoy before properly crossing the border are far fewer than they likely expect. In some cases, this space between offers travelers far fewer rights than some… Read full this story
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