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Border Patrol recorded checking IDs on Greyhound bus in Florida
U.S. Border Patrol agents boarded a Greyhound bus in Florida on Friday, checking passenger IDs and eventually taking one woman into custody, according to video posted online by a Florida immigration advocacy group.
The video, shared by the Florida Immigration Coalition, shows two officers identifying themselves as Border Patrol agents after boarding a Greyhound bus in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The officers can be seen asking passengers for identification. One passenger told local state CBS4 the agents were asking for "a U.S. identification or a passport with a stamp of entrance."
At one point in the video, the officers question a woman, asking her if she was carrying luggage and eventually escorting her off the bus.
In a statement to the Miami Herald, the Border Patrol said the woman was arrested after they discovered she had an expired tourist visa.
"While performing an immigration inspection at a Ft. Lauderdale bus station, Border Patrol agents identified a passenger who was illegally residing in the United States. The subject was an adult female that had overstayed her tourist visa," the agency said. "She was arrested and transported to the Dania Beach Border Patrol station for further investigation and later turned over to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Enforcement Removal Operations (ERO) for removal proceedings."
The Florida Immigration Coalition identified the woman as being of Caribbean descent and said on its website that family members of the woman in Jamaica haven't heard from her since Friday.
"My mother-in-law came to visit me last week. She's my daughter's grandmother and this was the first time meeting each other," the daughter-in-law of the woman removed from the bus said in a statement. "I dropped her off at the Greyhound bus stop Friday morning and never got word of her arrival. I'm very concerned about these officers questioning her without a lawyer present."
The membership director for the group, Isabel Sousa-Rodriguez, blasted the Border Patrol in a statement, saying incidents like this "erode public trust in police and authority figures whose job is to serve and protect our communities."
"Without an official judicial warrant, Border Patrol agents should not be permitted to board the private property of the Greyhound corporation to harass its customers and violate their civil liberties," Sousa-Rodriguez said. "Floridians deserve to ride a bus in peace without having to carry a birth certificate or passport to go to Disney World, visit family, or commute for work."
Customs and Border Protection Agents are allowed to operate within 100 miles of any U.S. land or coastal border, which applies to the entire state of Florida.
The Washington Post reports that similar incidents aboard Greyhound buses have occurred in recent years, including multiple instances in Washington state.
Greyhound released a statement Sunday about the incident, saying the company is "listening" after customers contacted them with concerns.
"We are required to comply with all local, state and federal laws and to cooperate with the relevant enforcement agencies if they ask to board our buses or enter stations. Unfortunately, even routine transportation checks negatively impact our operations and some customers directly," the company said. "We encourage anyone with concerns about what happened to reach out directly to these agencies. Greyhound will also reach out to the agencies to see if there is anything we can do on our end to minimize any negative effect of this process."