U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Freelance journalist questioned about journalism at Portland airport

Incident Details

Date of Incident
October 18, 2021
Portland, Oregon

Border Stop

Denied Entry?
Stopped Previously?
Asked for device access?
Asked intrusive questions about work?
October 18, 2021

Freelance journalist Sergio Olmos said he was subjected to secondary screening and questioning about his journalistic credentials while re-entering the United States in Portland, Oregon, on Oct. 18, 2021.

Olmos, who did not respond to a request for comment, wrote on Twitter shortly after 7 p.m. that he “went through an extended security check” by U.S. Customs and Border Protection after landing at Portland International Airport.

“The officer asked, with notepad in hand, where I went to journalism school,” Olmos wrote. “I said it was none of his business, and so out came my underwear from my backpack.”

In a subsequent tweet, Olmos said a CBP officer searched his bag for approximately an hour with a supervisor watching, and refused to provide Olmos his name when asked. It was not immediately clear from Olmos’s posts whether he plans to file a complaint with the CBP Office of Internal Affairs.

The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker has documented nearly 50 instances of journalists stopped at the border for secondary screening, asked intrusive questions about their work or been subjected to searches or seizures of their electronic devices. Find all instances of border stops here.

The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker catalogues press freedom violations in the United States. Email tips to [email protected].