Saturday, June 22, 2024

Greyhound will allow Border Patrol to check passengers’ papers

Border Patrol officers routinely board buses without a warrant, without specific people they’re targeting, up to 100 miles from the border — and ask passengers for their papers and Greyhound, the nation’s largest intercity bus line, lets them do it and doesn’t plan to stop.

Greyhound officials say they’re just complying with the law. But 10 ACLU state affiliates argue the company has the right and the responsibility to its passengers, to demand a warrant for Border Patrol officers to board its buses.

The tactic of boarding buses to ask passengers for papers isn’t new to the Trump Administration, but immigrant rights advocates say it’s happening more frequently as the president seeks to detain and deport more immigrants.

It’s not just buses: Border Patrol has also questioned passengers on Amtrak trains, and last year Customs and Border Protection agents demanded passengers on a flight show ID when leaving a domestic flight. Customs and Border Protection, which includes Border Patrol, says that’s all within its authority.

A spokesperson cited a statute that says immigration officers may “board and search for aliens in any vessel” within a reasonable distance from the border and government regulations set that “reasonable distance” as up to 100 miles from the border, including both the land and coasts. However, the question is whether this violates the Fourth Amendment, which protects individuals from unreasonable searches.

Courts have approved of warrantless stops of cars by the Border Patrol, but there are some limits. The Supreme Court has ruled that the amendment prohibits the Border Patrol from searching private vehicles away from the border without probable cause or consent.

Greyhound is trying to say “that they’re not making an affirmative choice here, that they’re agreeing to the CBP entering because they have to, and that’s not the case,” Anil Kalhan, a professor at Drexel University’s Thomas R. Kline School of Law said. “I think that is obscuring the fact that they’re making this choice.”