A video reportedly showing Customs and Border Protection agents demanding proof of citizenship from Greyhound bus passengers in Florida last week has sparked fresh outrage over the Trump administration’s hard-line immigration policies.
“If I haven’t committed a crime why do I have to show you ID?” one passenger can be heard saying.
A second video shows agents escorting a woman off the bus, her suitcase in tow. Customs and Border Protection said a woman was detained because she overstayed her tourist visa, though they did not specify if it was the same person shown in the viral video.
“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 agency told HuffPost in a statement. “The subject was an adult female that had overstayed her tourist visa. 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 woman was Jamaican and had been visiting family, according to the Florida Immigrant Coalition, an advocacy group.
“My mother-in-law came to visit me last week,” the woman’s daughter-in-law told the coalition. “She’s my daughter’s grandmother and this was the first time meeting each other. 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.”
Greyhound said it’s investigating the incident, and said it’s at the mercy of law enforcement agencies.
e 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,” the company said Monday in a statement. “Unfortunately, even routine transportation checks negatively impact our operations and some customers directly.”
Customs and Border Protection said its agents routinely patrol transportation hubs “as part of a layered approach to preventing illegal aliens from traveling further into the United States.” Such enforcement operations “serve as a vital component of the U.S. Border Patrol’s national security efforts,” the agency said.
The Fourth Amendment of the Constitution protects people from arbitrary stops and searches, but federal law allows this to be overlooked in areas within 100 miles of U.S. borders. Florida lies entirely within that scope.
According to the American Civil Liberties Union, Border Patrol “cannot pull anyone over without ‘reasonable suspicion’ of an immigration violation or crime,” nor can it search vehicles within that 100-mile zone without a warrant.
“In practice, Border Patrol agents routinely ignore or misunderstand the limits of their legal authority in the course of individual stops, resulting in violations of the constitutional rights of innocent people,” the ACLU said.
President Donald Trump has hardened the U.S. stance on illegal immigration, widening the mandate with more frequent raids and arrests, stoking fears of deportations. From the time Trump took office until the end of September, ICE removals that resulted from arrests increased by 37 percent over the previous year, the Department of Homeland Security said.
Meanwhile, Customs and Border Protection recorded a 23.7 percent decline in apprehensions in fiscal 2017 from the year before. Apprehensions along the Southwest border began to increase in May, the agency said.
This article has been updated to include a statement from Customs and Border Protection.