Greyhound can no longer allow warrantless, suspicionless immigration sweeps on Washington bus routes

Ice Agents

SPOKANE, Wash. — Greyhound Lines Inc. can no longer allow warrantless and suspicionless immigration sweeps on its busses. 

The company agreed to pay $2.2 million to resolve a lawsuit filed by Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson. 

A release from Ferguson’s office said the money will be used to provide restitution to passengers who were detained, arrested or deported after immigration agents boarded their bus at the Spokane Intermodal Center. 

RELATED: Greyhound’s attempt to dismiss AG Ferguson lawsuit rejected by Spokane judge

The issue first came to light in 2017 when Andres Sosa Segura was stopped and ordered to show his “papers.” Sosa presented agents with a “Know Your Rights” card and invoked his right to an attorney. 

A records check showed Sosa was already in pending immigration proceedings, but he was arrested by CBP agents and detained for several hours.

Another similar incident was reported in 2019. Comedian Mohanad Elshieky was traveling from Spokane to Portland in 2019 when he was stopped by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. 

Elshieky said ICE agents interrogated him and accused him of being in the country illegally. He also said he provided documents showing he had been granted asylum, but the agents thought his papers were fake. 

He was detained but eventually released. 

Greyhound was set to go to trial over the lawsuit Tuesday. But on the eve of the trial, the company agreed to Ferguson’s demands. 

A consent decree filed Monday requires the company to enact a number of corporate reforms to end its unlawful conduct. That includes creating a clear policy denying CBP agents permission to board busses in Washington without warrants or reasonable suspicion. 

Greyhound must also train its drivers and other employees on how to communicate that policy to CBP agents. 

“My office first insisted that Greyhound make these corporate reforms in 2019,” Ferguson said. “If Greyhound had simply accepted our reasonable demand, they would have avoided a lawsuit. Now, on the eve of trial, Greyhound’s evasion has come to an end, and now it must pay $2 million for the harm it caused Washingtonians. Greyhound has an obligation to its customers — an obligation it cannot set aside so immigration agents can go on fishing expeditions aboard its buses.” 

READ: Comedian questioned by CBP in Spokane files federal lawsuit against U.S. Government

RELATED: US Border Patrol to pay $35,000 to men wrongfully detained at Spokane Intermodal Center