The government has settled some of these cases before they could go to trial, thus avoiding potentially incriminating testimony from CBP officers accused of wrongdoing. Six of the lawsuits resulted in financial settlements costing taxpayers more than $1.2 million. Others are pending. One claim lost in a jury trial.
If they can justify suspicions, federal officers at U.S. ports of entry are authorized, without the need for warrants, to require some disrobing for genital and rectal inspections, and monitored bowel movements to check for drugs, according to a CBP handbook. At the same time, the detention-and-search handbook instructs officers to record a solid justification for every step beyond a frisk, and to respect detainees’ dignity and “freedom from unreasonable searches.” The handbook also warns against what could be considered a “visual or physical intrusion” into body cavities.