ACLU asks Greyhound to stop giving Border Patrol permission to conduct bus raids

ACLU asks Greyhound to stop giving Border Patrol permission to conduct bus raids

The ACLU of Washington and ACLU affiliates in nine other states sent a letter to Greyhound Lines Inc. Wednesday to urge the company to change its policies and refuse U.S. Customs and Border Protection permission to conduct raids on buses without warrants.

Border Patrol agents have been conducing surprise boardings without warrants with Greyhound’s permission to question riders about their citizenship and travel plans.

“These invasive raids are not only a blatant disregard of passengers’ constitutional rights, they are also clearly driven by racial profiling. And Greyhound’s cooperation with CBP is unnecessarily facilitating the violation of people’s rights,” said Enoka Herat, ACLU of Washington Police Practices and Immigrant Rights Counsel.

The letter cites instances of unlawful interrogations and searches in several states, including Washington.

According to the letter:

Border Patrol agents reportedly board Greyhound buses frequently and intimidate passengers with questioning and demands for documents. Agents have been doing so in the Spokane area for several years, including on purely domestic bus routes. In 2017 alone, CBP agents took into custody at least 34 people after subjecting many more people to bus immigration checks in the Spokane area.

CBP documents obtained by the ACLU of Washington indicate that most of these bus checks took place on Greyhound buses. In one recent case in January 2018, CBP agents confronted a father and son as they rode a Greyhound bus from Seattle to Montana. Even though the son had valid Deferred Action for Childhood (DACA) status and the father never gave the agents any information about his immigration status, agents arrested the pair after asking them “Are you illegal?” and “Do you have your documents on you?”

ACLU volunteers will be distributing “Know Your Rights” handouts at Spokane’s bus station Wednesday at 11:00 am and 5:00 pm.

Greyhound issued a statement earlier this year saying the company was “required” to cooperate with “enforcement agencies if they ask to board our buses.” But ACLU argues that’s not true.

If you have witnessed Border Patrol agents boarding a bus in Washington state, you are asked to report it to the ACLU.