Miranda warnings are not required when border agents question aliens seeking admission into the U.S. Even if aliens being questioned at a border about their admission into this country are in...

Miranda warnings are not required when border agents question aliens seeking admission into the U.S. Even if aliens being questioned at a border about their admission into this country are in “custody,” most courts have held that official, routine questioning of the alien does not require a Miranda warning, even if that questioning results in incriminating statements from the alien.

Can someone please list at least 3 arguments for and against this ruling. Which position do you support and why?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I would generally approve of this ruling.  Let us look at arguments for and against the ruling to see why I take this position.

It is certainly easy to argue against this ruling.  First of all, we can argue that every person should be informed of his or her rights, regardless of their immigration status.  An alien trying to enter the US is just as much of a person as a US citizen and therefore deserves to have their human rights respected.  Second, aliens are much less likely than US citizens to know what their rights are.  They will not have grown up with US TV shows and US education that make them familiar with Miranda rights.  Finally, it is intimidating for aliens to be taken into custody and interrogated.  This is likely to coerce them into making statements against themselves unless they are very clear about what their rights are.

However, I still tend to agree with this ruling.  First of all, Miranda rights apply to criminal matters.  An attempt to enter the United States is an administrative matter, not a criminal matter.  Much more importantly, a person who attempts to enter the United States has to expect a reduced level of privacy.  That is, a person who is attempting to enter the US has to anticipate that they will be questioned by border agents.  Therefore, the person who is attempting to enter ought to be ready to be questioned.  This is not a random stop where someone is being pulled off the street and interrogated.  It is much more like going to an airport knowing that you will have to pass through security.  Anyone would realize that they are going to be stopped and questioned and so, by trying to enter the US, they are giving tacit consent to be questioned.

For these reasons, I would tend to agree with this ruling.

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