Greyhound to stop allowing immigration checks on buses
Greyhound said Friday it will no longer allow Border Patrol agents on its buses to conduct routine immigration checks without a warrant.
Greyhound, the nation’s largest bus company, said in a statement to The Hill that it will notify the Department of Homeland Security that it no longer consents to warrantless searches on its buses and terminal areas that are not open to the public. It will also give drivers and other employees updated training regarding the policy.
“Our primary concern is the safety of our customers and team members, and we are confident these changes will lead to an improved experience for all parties involved,” the company said. “We plan to begin the implementation of these changes immediately.”
The news of Greyhound’s reversal was first reported by The Associated Press.
Greyhound’s announcement comes after a Border Patrol memo was leaked saying that agents cannot board private buses without the company’s consent. Greyhound had previously said it had no choice but to allow warrantless searches under federal law.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) maintained that its operations, including sweeps on public transportation, are consistent with the law and that the agency works to maintain positive relationships with companies.
“For decades, U.S. Border Patrol agents have routinely engaged in enforcement operations at transportation hubs. Enforcement operations away from the immediate border are performed consistent with law and in direct support of immediate border enforcement efforts, and such operations function as a means of preventing smuggling and other criminal organizations from exploitation of existing transportation hubs to travel further into the United States,” a CBP official told The Hill. “The U.S. Border Patrol conducts regular outreach with transportation companies to foster good working relationships.”
The bus company had been under pressure from civil rights groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) over its policy regarding the Border Patrol sweeps, with critics saying the practice has spiked under President Trump.
“We are pleased to see Greyhound clearly communicate that it does not consent to racial profiling and harassment on its buses,” Andrea Flores, deputy director of policy for the ACLU’s Equality Division, told the AP. “By protecting its customers and employees, Greyhound is sending a message that it prioritizes the communities it serves.”
Greyhound critics maintained they will ensure the company complies with its new policy.
“Today’s announcement from Greyhound confirms what should have been obvious to the company since I contacted them a year ago – it has both the power and the responsibility to stand up for its customers, who suffered for far too long from Greyhound’s indifference to CBP’s suspicionless bus raids and harassment,” said Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who had pressured the company to block the sweeps.
— Washington State Attorney General (@AGOWA) February 22, 2020
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