In 2018, Matthew C. Allen, the Assistant Director for the Domestic Operations Division within the United States Department of Homeland Security, filed a declaration in United States v. Ignjatov describing a departmental policy allowing for the installation of a “GPS tracking device on a vehicle at the United States border without a warrant or individualized suspicion,” limited “to 48 hours.” While the Border Search Doctrine, which predates the Fourth Amendment, deems that no warrant is necessary at the border for most searches and seizures because of the government’s inherent power to control who or what comes within a nation’s borders, the Fourth Amendment protects the “right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.” This Note examines the implications of the installation of a Global Positioning Services (GPS) tracking device at the border without a warrant and whether the installation and tracking thereafter should be considered a constitutional exception under the Border Search Doctrine, unconstitutional based on Fourth Amendment precedent, or both. This Note highlights the tension between “classic” Fourth Amendment jurisprudence and the Border Search Doctrine as a result of technological advancement, and determines based on current policies and precedent, such as United States v. Jones and Carpenter v. United States, that the installation of a GPS tracking device is a search under the Fourth Amendment and not subject to the Border Search Doctrine exception. This Note then concludes by advocating for greater policy transparency in congruence with established precedent in order to ensure the privacy rights of both citizens and noncitizens alike moving forward.
GPS Tracking at the Border: A Mistaken Expectation or a Chilling Reality,
27 Wash. & Lee J. Civ. Rts. & Soc. Just. 161
Available at: https://scholarlycommons.law.wlu.edu/crsj/vol27/iss1/6