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ACLU calls on Greyhound to stop immigration bus raids

Loco Steve

The ACLU of Michigan, along with nine other state affiliates, sent a letter to Greyhound Bus Wednesday calling on the company to stop allowing US Customs and Border Protection agents onto busses.

In a letter signed by the ACLUs of ten states officials outlined several instances of US Customs and Border Protection agents entering buses to arrest immigrants.

Monica Andrade is with ACLU of Michigan. She said in Michigan 82 percent of foreign citizens stopped have been latino - strongly suggesting CBP is using ethnicity as a basis for stops.

“Buses are often the only reliable and the only affordable means of transit for poor working immigrants and that’s why they’ve become prime targets for agents who are looking for undocumented individuals.”

Andrade said Greyhound has the right to refuse CBP entry.

“Border control needs either consent or probable cause to get onto the bus and Greyhound right now has said they believe they have to do it, that they don’t have a choice so they are giving consent.”

Officials with Greyhound released a statement outlining eight laws it believes require they open their busses to searches.

Their full statement is below:

We can confirm that we’ve received the letter signed by several ACLU affiliates yesterday and we will respond to them. We understand their concerns and those of our customers with regard to this matter. However, Greyhound is required to comply with the law. We are aware that routine transportation checks not only affect our operations, but our customers’ travel experience, and we will continue to do everything legally possible to minimize any negative experiences. Greyhound has opened a dialogue with the Border Patrol to see if there is anything that can be done to balance the enforcement of federal law with the dignity and privacy of our valued customers.

The following are the laws that Greyhound is under the understanding we must comply with:

8 USC 1357(a)(3) –

“Any officer or employee of the Service … shall have power without warrant ---within a reasonable distance from any external  boundary of the United States, to board and search for aliens any…vehicle…for the purpose of patrolling the border to prevent the illegal entry of aliens into the United States”.

8 USC 1225(d)(1) –

“Immigration officers are authorized to board and search any…vehicle in which they believe aliens are being brought into the United States”.

8 CFR 287.1(a)(2) –

“The term reasonable distance as used in section 287(a)(3) of the Act means within 100 air miles from any external boundary of the United States…”

8 CFR 287.1(c) –

“The phrase patrolling the border to prevent the illegal entry of aliens into the United States as used in Section 287 of the Immigration and Nationality Act means conducting such activities as are customary, or reasonable and necessary, to prevent the illegal entry of aliens into the United States.”

8 CFR 287.8(b)(1) –

“Interrogation is questioning designed to elicit specific information. An immigration officer, like any other person, has the right to ask questions of anyone as long as the immigration officer does not restrain the freedom of an individual, not under arrest, to walk away”.

8 CFR 287.8(b)(2) –

“If the immigration officer has a reasonable suspicion, based on specific articulable facts, that the person being questioned…is an alien illegally in the United States, the immigration officer may briefly detain  the person for questioning.”

8 CFR 287(f)(1) –

“Site inspections are …enforcement activities undertaken to locate and identify aliens illegally in the United States…at locations where there is a reasonable suspicion, based on articulable facts, that such aliens are present.”

8 CFR 287(f)(4) –

“Nothing in this section prohibits an immigration officer from entering into any area of a business or other activity to which the general public has access…without a warrant, consent, or any particularized suspicion in order to question any person whom the officer believes to be an alien concerning his or her right to remain in the United States.”