ACLU Statement on Border Patrol Change of Policy Requiring Consent to Board Buses

February 14, 2020 10:00 am

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WASHINGTON — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) confirmed that it has updated its policy regarding immigration checks on buses, requiring agents to “gain access to the bus with the consent of the company’s owner or one of the company’s employees.”

This new policy is in line with the American Civil Liberties Union’s interpretation of constitutional law. The news comes after a multi-year campaign led by the ACLU and its border state affiliates — many of whom have cases related to the unlawful detention of people on buses — to stop the harmful practice of allowing CBP raids on Greyhound buses.

Andrea Flores, deputy director of policy, Equality Division, at the ACLU, issued the following statement:

“This change by CBP, the largest federal law enforcement agency in the nation, is a win for civil rights and civil liberties. You can’t tell someone’s immigration status based on how they look or sound. Attempting to do so leads to harmful racial profiling, wrongful detention, and the widespread fear and harassment of Black and brown passengers.

“There is still more work to be done: both to ensure CBP officers comply with the new policy, and for Greyhound to make clear that it does not consent to these searches. The onus must not fall on individual employees to stand up to law enforcement. The company as a whole has a responsibility to take a clear stance against the racial profiling and harassment of its customers — we will be watching to ensure it does so.”

Enoka Herat, police practices and immigration counsel, at ACLU of Washington, issued the following statement:

“This policy puts the burden where it belongs: on federal agents to seek consent when they enter private property. It’s the law, and the agents should be held to it. As for Greyhound, it can and should protect its customers by denying that consent and rejecting CBP’s racial profiling on its property.”

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