When you get to the U.S. border control, a border control officer may be able to access certain international databases and check your information, like your criminal record, from your home country. This information will help border control determine whether you can be allowed to enter the U.S.
If you’re concerned about what border control can see about you, you’ll want to know about the databases they can access, as well as whether a criminal record would make you inadmissible to the U.S.
Does Border Control Have Access to International Databases?
Border control may have access to certain international databases to help them screen people trying to cross the U.S. border. For example, they could use INTERPOL databases or similar databases to screen people, goods, and vehicles that may cross the border.
With the INTERPOL databases, “member countries” (countries that participate in and contribute to the databases) have access to criminal databases containing millions of records. If your home country is a member country with the INTERPOL databases, one of them may contain your criminal record.
If a U.S. border control officer accesses an INTERPOL database with your criminal record in it, they’ll be able to view it and cross-reference the record with U.S. databases. The border control officer will also be able to see and verify certain personal data and any criminal history.
Additional Databases Border Control May Be Able to Access
Border control could access other national and international databases to check your personal, criminal, and other information. Often, border control will access the National Crime Information Center, a database the FBI uses. It contains criminal justice information.
Border control may also look at:
- The Interagency Border Inspection System
- The Terrorist Screening Center
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Personal Information Border Control Can View
When an individual tries to cross the U.S. border, border control collects or verifies information about them, such as their:
- Home country
- Home address
- Method of travel
- Reason for traveling to the U.S.
When a border control officer checks their databases, they’ll determine whether there’s any reason for suspicion or any threat to security.
When There’s Suspicion or a Potential Threat
If a border official believes an individual is suspicious or a potential threat to security, they may inspect or search the individual and collect and log other information about them. Such information could be:
- Personal information about the individual’s travel companions
- Details about what the official did and what the inspection or search revealed
- That the individual was considered suspicious or a potential threat to security
If an official believes they must collect additional information about the individual, they may access other databases and view the individual’s:
- Criminal record
- Citizenship status
- Employment details
- Credit card information
- Property records
- Phone numbers
- Social media activity
- Family member’s information
Can You Enter the U.S. if You Have a Criminal Record?
The U.S. has very strict rules for entry, but if a U.S. official considers you a “low-risk” individual, you may be able to enter. If you’re considered a higher risk, you may not be granted permission to enter the U.S. For example, if you were ever convicted of a crime that resulted in serious property damage or serious harm to a person, you may not be granted permission.
If you have any concerns about getting entry into the U.S. with a criminal record, you can voice those concerns to an immigration attorney from our law firm. The attorney can evaluate your situation and advise you about how to proceed.
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You May Have Privacy and Protection Concerns
At the border, officials can legally collect your personal and criminal information. Courts typically don’t grant the same protection rights they’d grant when the information is collected inside the U.S. Additionally, your information can be shared with various agencies, like the National Insurance Crime Bureau, which checks for insurance fraud and stolen vehicles.
You can request a copy of your files from an agency that collects/stores personal information. It can be difficult to get your file, but one of our firm’s attorneys may be able to help you make your request and protect your right to this information, per the United States’ Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
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Other Ways We Can Help
If you believe you’ve been wrongly placed on a watch list, one of our immigration attorneys may be able to contest some of the content in your file. We can also help by providing any immigration-related legal services you need.
Reach Out to New Frontier Immigration Law Today
Our team’s goal is to protect your rights, including your right to privacy and your right to enter the U.S. if you’re a low-risk individual. If you believe border control violated your rights or even if you just need some legal advice, reach out to our firm.
When you call us, we’ll invite you for a strategic session with one of our team members. We’ll also tell you about our immigration attorneys and how they will help you. Call New Frontier Immigration Law today.