Canadian Citizens - Attorney Representation at the Port of Entry
There is no right to attorney representation at a port of entry to the United States. Many constitutional rights that apply to noncitizens in the interior of the United States are suspended or abbreviated at international border crossings. The Supreme Court has consistently upheld this suspension of constitutional rights at the border due to countervailing state interests in security at these locations.
Despite this limitation, US Customs & Border Protection (“CBP”) officers at the border may, in their discretion, permit attorneys to accompany their clients to the secondary inspection area at CBP facilities. In practice, this is routinely permitted.
As the Law Offices of James D. Eiss is located in Buffalo, NY, we are very close to the Peace Bridge port of entry and accompany clients to the border to process L-1, TN, and B-1 applications (as well as other complex admissions issues) on a weekly basis. The policy in Buffalo is to permit attorneys to accompany clients to the secondary inspection area, but only to allow attorneys to come to the counter, where the officer questions the applicant for admission, at the invitation of the officer or supervisor. We find that officers regularly, directly engage us on any potential issues with our cases.
In addition to in-person representation, we also are able to contact the Chiefs at the port to discuss difficult cases before we bring them to the border. This often helps to resolve issues before they arise.