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I understand that prior to crossing being admitted to the US the rights I take for granted on US soil do not apply to me. But it isn't clear to me when passing through a US airport where "admission" has occured. Unlike, for example, the UK, where clear signage unambiguously marks an actual border, US airports have a confusing series of stages to pass through.

At what point in passing through these stages have I technically been admitted to the US, and acquired the full legal protections I expect there?

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    Asked and answered on Travel.SE, including legal citations: travel.stackexchange.com/a/88425/1362 – Nate Eldredge Feb 20 '17 at 18:26
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    Ok but at the very least you should include a link. I don't see any reason to think it's going to be deleted. – Nate Eldredge Feb 20 '17 at 18:31
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    I think part of the problem is that your phrase "the full legal protections I expect there" is vague. We don't know what protections you are expecting to have. It might be that you acquire different protections at different points in the process. And it might be that there are some protections which you are mistaken in expecting to ever acquire. Can you be more specific as to what "protections" you mean? – Nate Eldredge Feb 20 '17 at 18:36
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    Can you also explain what was so bad about the answer by Sheik Paul which I linked? It seemed to clearly address the "technically admitted" issue (except, as I mentioned in comments there, that it could explain the distinction between immigration and customs). – Nate Eldredge Feb 20 '17 at 18:53
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    As far as I can tell, it is exactly correct on the issue of "admitted". The answer by chx is a hyperbolic quibble over the meaning of "full legal protections" which as I said is vague and should be clarified. The existence of internal checkpoints does not mean you "kiss your legal protections goodbye", whatever that even means. It's a place where your "admitted" status might be subject to verification. – Nate Eldredge Feb 20 '17 at 18:59

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