Greyhound passengers being threatened with deportation

Greyhound buses have been transporting people across the United States for decades. Many people in Kentucky find the Greyhound bus system to be a cost-efficient way to travel. However, one practice the company is permitting to take place on its buses has drawn the attention of the American Civil Liberties Union.

The ACLU in 10 states issued a written notice to Greyhound bus company officials with regards to the company’s practice of allowing U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents to enter buses to commit warrantless inspections of the immigration status of passengers. The ACLU claims agents single out passengers on the basis of the passenger’s race or the way the passenger looks. The ACLU is asking Greyhound bus company to not allow agents to enter their buses to perform these warrantless checks.

The Border Patrol is permitted per federal statutes to operate checkpoints and perform other actions within 100 miles of the border between the U.S. and another country, as well as borders on the coast. However, the ACLU says the inspections of these buses violates the passengers’ right to be free from unlawful searches and seizures, per the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The ACLU has stated passengers are being interrogated, subjected to warrantless searches to which there is no suspicion that illegal activity is taking place and that passengers are being threatened with deportation.

According to the ACLU, the Greyhound bus company should not permit such practices from taking place aboard their vehicles. Greyhound has responded that it did not have a choice in the matter, and was required to allow agents onto the buses. However, the ACLU claims that Greyhound does not have to let an agent onto a bus if there is no probable cause.

It remains to be seen whether legal action will result from these practices, but the fact that they are going on is concerning. Those who believe they have been the subject of an illegal Border Patrol search or seizure, or those who have been threatened with deportation and removal may want to seek legal help.

Source: NBC Bay Area, “ACLU Urges Greyhound to Stop Letting Federal Agents on Board to Conduct Immigration Sweeps,” March 23, 2018