Leaked Border Patrol Memo Shows Real Reason For Greyhound Immigration Checks

Published on February 22, 2020

The Greyhound bus company said this week that it will stop allowing immigration and border patrol officers to search its vehicles for routine immigration checks without a warrant. But the company, which previously claimed that it had no choice but to allow immigration officers aboard, changed its policy only after a leaked Border Patrol memo proved that the company had been giving consent up until now.

In the past the company had been criticized for allowing border patrol agents conduct routine immigration checks on its buses. American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) lawyers urged the company to stop allowing immigration checks to happen on routes that came within 100 miles of any international border.

Lawyers with the ACLU, as well as the Washington state Attorney General, Bob Fergusun, argued that the routine checks fueled discrimination against passengers on the bus system and stifled their ability to travel as the affordable method of travel became unsafe.

The company claimed that it had no choice but to let the immigration officers aboard, saying that federal laws prohibited it from acting as a barrier. However, other bus companies have prohibited the searches in the past.

A recent leak of an internal memo from the United States Customs and Border Patrol confirmed that the bus companies had to provide explicit consent for officers to enter the buses. The memo, which was obtained by the Associated Press, contradicted Greyhound’s previous statement that claimed it had no choice.

“We understand our customers’ concerns about U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) conducting warrantless, but still legal, searches on our buses,” reads a press release on the company’s website released back in 2018.

Policy Updates Call For An End To Greyhound Immigration Checks

In the wake of the memo, Greyhound has publicly changed its policy regarding routine immigration checks. The company has revoked its consent for border patrol officers to conduct immigration checks on its buses, saying it will update its official company policy to alert its staff and fleet of drivers of the new practice.

Starting now, border patrol agents will have to obtain a warrant in order to enter the buses to conduct immigration checks.

Julia Sachs is a former Managing Editor at Grit Daily. She covers technology, social media and disinformation. She is based in Utah and before the pandemic she liked to travel.

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