The bus carrier Greyhound has apparently been allowing U.S. Border Patrol agents to board its buses, well within the country's borders, and ask: "Papers please."
From My San Antonio:
He was a 12-year Miami resident originally from Trinidad, taken off a Greyhound bus in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, by U.S. Border Patrol agents in January.The wimpy bus carrier has started "conversations" with Border Patrol instead of protecting their passengers and telling the agents "to go to hell."
She was a 60-something Jamaican national who had just met her granddaughter for the first time, whose Greyhound was stopped by Border Patrol. She was arrested and turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
And on the other side of the country, they were an undocumented father and son riding a Greyhound from Seattle to Montana when agents came aboard and asked, "Are you illegal?" "Do you have your documents?" The son, a DACA recipient traveling without his papers, was held for a few hours. The father was sent to a detention center.
It is here - between the rows of seats on Greyhound buses and at stations across the country - that America's policies and fraught divisions over immigration are also playing out. The private bus line says it is caught in the middle of an ugly issue beyond its control.
But legislators and justice groups argue that by allowing Border Patrol to conduct the immigration checks, Greyhound exposes its passengers to
violations of their constitutional rights to be free from racial profiling, harassment and warrantless searches and seizures.
They say it is up to Greyhound - which serves 18 million passengers yearly across 3,800 destinations - and other massive transportation companies to pick a side. Others predict Greyhound's reputation could take a hit at a time when customers expect businesses to take a stand in social and political debates.
"They haven't made a choice, they're just letting Border Patrol do this and that's not neutral," said Chris Rickerd, policy counsel of the ACLU national political advocacy department. "If they wanted formally to consent, they can say, 'we consent.' What we think they should do is put their customer interests first and say, 'we don't consent unless there is probable cause or a warrant.'"
According to MySA, |a spokesperson for Greyhound, Lanesha Gipson, said the company doesn't "support or coordinate these searches, nor are we happy about them." Gipson acknowledged that searches negatively affect customers. She said Greyhound also worried about the risk it puts drivers in, too.
"We have started conversations with the Border Patrol to determine if there is anything that can be done to balance the enforcement of federal law with the dignity and privacy of our valued customers," Gipson said.
Greyhound is owned by FirstGroup PLC, whose executive chairman is Herr Wolfhart Hauser.