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The Government's interest in preventing the entry of unwanted persons and effects is at its zenith at the international border. 'Searches made at the border, pursuant to the longstanding right of the sovereign to protect itself by stopping and examining persons and property crossing into this country, are reasonable simply by virtue of the fact that they occur at the border.' United States v. Ramsey, 431 U. S. 606, 616 (1977). Congress, since the beginning of our Government, 'has granted the Executive plenary authority to conduct routine searches and seizures at the border, without probable cause or a warrant, in order to regulate the collection of duties and to prevent the introduction of contraband into this country.' United States v. Montoya de Hernandez, 473 U. S. 531, 537, (citing Ramsey, supra, at 616-617 (citing Act of July 31, 1789, ch. 5, 1 Stat. 29)). 


That searches made at the border, pursuant to the longstanding right of the sovereign to protect itself by stopping and examining persons and property crossing into this country, are reasonable simply by virtue of the fact that they occur at the border, should, by now, require no extended demonstration. The Congress ...

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