FACT CHECK: Viral Post Claims Border Agents Can Enter Anyone’s Home Within 100 Miles Of The Border Without A Warrant

Hannah Hudnall | Fact Check Reporter

A post shared on Facebook claims the Supreme Court ruled in favor of allowing border agents to enter anyone’s home without a warrant if they live within 100 miles of the U.S. border.

Verdict: False

Border agents cannot legally search buildings or private residences without a warrant, according to legal experts.

Fact Check:

The post, which has garnered over 160 reactions on Facebook, claims, “In a 6-to-3 vote, the Supreme Court ruled that border agents may unconstitutionally enter a person’s home without a warrant and assault him and … federal courts are powerless to do anything about it.” It continues to allege, “The border, once again, is a Constitution-free zone.”

This is inaccurate. The court recently ruled in a 6-3 decision in Egbert v. Boule that Border Patrol agents cannot be sued “for Fourth Amendment excessive force or First Amendment retaliation.” However, this does not make it legal for agents to search private residences without a warrant.

“The Supreme Court did not rule on the search itself rather whether the plaintiff could sue for damages under the common law Bivens doctrine,” Erin Corcoran, Executive Director for the Kroc Institute of International Peace Studies, told Check Your Fact. “The Court ruled that he could not use a Bivens action to sue for damages for excessive force by a CBP agent due to national security concerns. The Court held there were other alternatives provided by statute to seek redress against the CBP and so a Bivens action was not appropriate.”

The Immigration and Nationality Act allows border agents to search any vehicles within 100 miles of the border or any private land within 25 miles without a warrant. However, it prohibits entering private dwellings.

“That is incorrect,” Reece Jones, author of “Nobody Is Protected: How the Border Patrol Became the Most Dangerous Police Force in the United States,” said in an email to Check Your Fact. “The Border Patrol does have a lot of authority in the 100 mile zone, but cannot do searches. The Border Patrol (green uniforms) has the same search rules as regular police. Consent, probable cause, or a warrant.”

With regards to Egbert v. Boule, Jones explained, “The specific case was about an assault, but it also means if they do an illegal search, you could not sue them for it. But the search would still be illegal and evidence from it not admissible in court. That’s the exclusion rule from Mapp v Ohio.”

Hannah Hudnall

Fact Check Reporter

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