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Congressman Joaquin Castro

Representing the 20th District of Texas

Tri-Caucus to Greyhound: Resist CBP Immigration Raids on Buses

Jun 13, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON–Congressional Tri-Caucus Chairs–composed of Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) Chair Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-01), Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) Chair Judy Chu (CA-27), Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Chair Cedric Richmond (LA-02)–along with Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20), First Vice Chair of the CHC, today led a group of 19 lawmakers in raising concerns about repeated immigration raids taking place aboard Greyhound buses. In a letter to Greyhound’s CEO David Leach, the Members highlighted that such raids, under the guise of United States Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) “transportation checks,” violate the constitutional rights of the company’s customers and the Members’ constituents.    

“Greyhound’s actions affect our constituents, and we contend that, by granting consent to CBP agents to board buses to inquire about immigration status, Greyhound exposes its passengers to frequent violations of their constitutional rights to be free from warrantless searches and seizures, racial profiling, and harassment,” the Members wrote.

The Members continued: “The American Civil Liberties Union has documented CBP agents boarding Greyhound buses across the nation, spanning coast to coast, with resulting detentions and deportations. We consider this behavior unacceptable, and believe it is within your power to change it.”

Full text of the letter follows and can be found here.

June 13, 2018

David Leach
Chief Executive Officer
Greyhound Lines Inc.
350 North St. Paul Street
Dallas, TX 75201

Dear Mr. Leach:


We write today to express our concerns over repeated, widespread immigration raids on Greyhound buses under the guise of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) “transportation checks” taking place at locations other than ports of entry or lawful checkpoints.  It is our understanding that Greyhound allows CBP agents to board its buses without a warrant or probable cause in order to ask customers about their citizenship. As Members of Congress, we have a stake in Greyhound’s policies and practices, as Greyhound has over 3,800 destinations across North America and serves millions of customers per year.  Greyhound’s actions affect our constituents, and we contend that, by granting consent to CBP agents to board buses to inquire about immigration status, Greyhound exposes its passengers to frequent violations of their constitutional rights to be free from warrantless searches and seizures, racial profiling, and harassment.   

The American Civil Liberties Union has documented CBP agents boarding Greyhound buses across the nation, spanning coast to coast, with resulting detentions and deportations. We consider this behavior unacceptable, and believe it is within your power to change it.        

Title 8 of the U.S. Code outlines the powers immigration officers have, including CBP agents, to conduct warrantless searches. The statute reads in part that officers can, within a reasonable distance from the border, “board and search for aliens” on “any railway car, aircraft, conveyance, or vehicle." But as with any law conferring enforcement authority, the statute authorizes agents to conduct such activities only while complying with the Constitution.  Congress has not approved, nor could it, a violation of the Constitution as it has been interpreted by the Supreme Court regarding this very statute. Therefore, it is our understanding that CBP must have either probable cause or be given Greyhound’s consent to board and search for immigration infractions. 


According to Greyhound’s website, the company prides itself on “providing safe, enjoyable and affordable travel to nearly 18 million passengers each year in the United States and Canada.” We do not see how this mission comports with authorizing dragnet CBP searches of Greyhound’s passengers.  Will you change this practice and refuse CBP agents permission to board buses, outside a port of entry or lawful checkpoint, without probable cause?


Thank you for your consideration.  We await your response and hope you will commit to a fair application of the law for all of your customers.

Sincerely,

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