Of course, the legal practice of searching mobile devices started long before Trump came along and were already on the rise before he was elected, but the NBC News report indicates the president's executive actions on immigration and rhetoric about Muslims during the 2016 campaign "seems to have emboldened federal agents to act more forcefully." In fact, NBC examined 25 cases in which CBP officers forced American citizens to hand over and unlock their devices at airports and border crossings, and found that 23 of them were Muslim. One man was even put in a chokehold for refusing to give up his phone.
A few other factors have also contributed to increases, according to the report:
"The more aggressive tactics of the past two years, two senior intelligence officials told NBC News, were sparked by a string of domestic incidents in 2015 and 2016 in which the watch list system and the FBI failed to stop American citizens from conducting attacks. The searches also reflect new abilities to extract contact lists, travel patterns and other data from phones very quickly."