Don’t Board Our Buses Without Probable Cause or a Warrant

When I first started working at Greyhound 28 years ago, I was told that I would never be able to drive a bus. I’m a woman of color. But I got trained, and I became a bus driver. Soon after, I joined Local 1700 of the Amalgamated Transit Union, and today I am the local’s president.

Local 1700 represents 3,500 Greyhound drivers, mechanics, and terminal workers. My job, as the president, is to advocate on behalf of our members for fair pay, safety, and wellbeing. But today, I’m advocating for our customers. by urging Greyhound management to stand up for our passengers and tell the U.S. Border Patrol that it cannot board our buses without probable cause or a warrant.

With greater frequency over the past two years, Border Patrol agents across the country have been boarding our buses and asking our passengers, especially customers of color, to show their papers. Passengers who are unable to provide documentation showing that they are authorized to be in the United States are then taken off the bus and processed for possible deportation.

By not requiring the Border Patrol to have constitutionally adequate suspicion before boarding, Greyhound is allowing the federal government to violate our passengers’ constitutional rights. Racial profiling, harassment, and discriminatory searches and seizures are prohibited by the Constitution, as the Supreme Court has made clear when interpreting the exact law that Border Patrol operates under. Our passengers are people who have paid money to ride our buses safely and with dignity. It is incumbent on us not to allow Border Patrol agents to board the buses and interrogate them without adequate suspicion.

Call Greyhound

I’ve seen this happen before. I used to drive a Memphis-Dallas Greyhound bus, and law enforcement would sometimes stop my bus, search it with dogs, and ask for IDs, mostly from people of color. I hated it then, but now it is happening more often, and the consequences are devastating for our passengers and their families. At a time when our government has implemented inhumane and cruel immigration policies — such as separating children from their parents, holding families in indefinite detention, and deporting people who have been in the country for decades — we cannot allow this to happen.

Greyhound management has claimed that upholding the Constitution would endanger our drivers, but that's not true. This is not about challenging or criticizing law enforcement. We respect and depend on officers who act to protect public safety based on legally sufficient reasons. 

If Greyhound were to inform the government that it will not allow Border Patrol to board its buses without probable cause or a warrant, our drivers would not do anything differently. But our union members and passengers would know that Greyhound is living up to management’s public pledges to do “everything legally possible” to ensure their journeys are respectful and dignified.

If management writes a letter to the Department of Homeland Security formally objecting to Border Patrol’s practice, it would become a legal matter, not something for individual drivers to implement. Unfortunately, Greyhound, perhaps fearful of a government backlash, has been unwilling to take a stance. Management should join us in understanding that this is about passengers and their constitutional rights, not politics.

Our passengers are our customers. Their money pays our salaries. We treat them equally and believe along with Martin Luther King Jr. that, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Karen Miller is the president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1700


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Dr. Timothy Leary

"You union guys always got a beef about something": Henry Ford circa 1930.

Anonymous

"Heil Hitler": Henry Ford circa 1938. I think the Brown Shirts had a beef about something then too.

Anonymous

I called, and the agent actually started arguing with me, claiming that Greyhound is not doing this and directing me to customer service to file a formal complaint.

Anonymous

They send sniffer dogs through the luggage compartment sometimes before people even get a chance to get out of the bus. I nearly got arrested because they wanted to search my bags and I took them and left the area. I have a valid prescription for what I had in the bag (and was clearly disabled back then), but they conducted an illegal search so I wasn't having it. I went to the ladies room and hung out for a while - some of the other women on my bus came in talking about how the agents were flipping out because the bags had vanished and they were out for blood. Then some sort of protest broke out, so I slipped out of the ladies and into line for my transfer. The agents left after the protest broke out. They had not had a warrant for anything and were barely within the 100 mile zone.
I would still do it again even if there was a 100% guarantee that I would be detained because despite the fact that I had done nothing (except stupidly put my medications in my rolling suitcase as I was seriously disabled at the time), I was under zero obligation to allow them to search my stuff after they conducted an illegal sweep with the dog which NOBODY had consented to. I hadn't done anything illegal and they obviously had no warrant for my stuff specifically or for the premises in general so why allow them to continue breaking the law at my expense? I was in a hurry, in pain, and I have zero tolerance for bullshit like that.

Anonymous

The Los Angeles Latino police have a clear racial bias in the process of law enforcement. Under the influence of racial bias, the Latino police will unscrupulously assault alien parties, usually by means of knitting lies, making perjury, threatening witnesses, conspiracy, lying in court, any kinds of despicable means that they can do, the victims of ethnic groups, including white, black and Asian. Los Angeles City, the Latino police there are still widespread and serious corruption, according to statistics, the degree of corruption in the Los Angeles City police is also in the forefront of the world, in which the proportion of Latino police corruption case is the highest.

Dr. Timothy Leary

Ustedes eres un racisto.

Anonymous

Where do they park their UFOs? I'm surprised they aren't getting stolen since it is LA.

Anonymous

USBP has the privilege to search illegals. Ms Karen Miller, why don't you go to Africa?

Anonymous

do I have constitution right to make free speech or I have to saysomething you like?

Anonymous

What a load of garbage. If they deport someone of color, where do they deport them to: Mississippi?? The dogs are searching for drugs, moron. Why are border patrol agents doing looking for drugs and black people who they deport back to Atlanta??? What a load of garbage. I am not this stupid!

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