Immigrant raid on Greyhound bus ends in passenger deportation
FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) – A woman was pulled off a Greyhound bus by U.S. Border and Customs Patrol agents demanding proof of citizenship of all passengers.
Passengers on the Greyhound bus said the bus driver told them security was going to come on board for a routine investigation. Instead, it was U.S. Border and Customs Patrol agents who came aboard to ask each passenger for their documentation, Friday.
One passenger, of Caribbean decent, refused to show proof of citizenship. She was arrested, detained and is now going to be deported.
A rider on the bus pulled out a cellphone to record the moment Border Patrol agents went on board and removed the woman’s luggage.
Other passengers said they were shocked that they had to show their documents on a local bus route.
“If you haven’t committed a crime, why do I have to show you I.D.?” asked one passenger on camera. “They have no right to stop me.”
The raid happened at the Fort Lauderdale Greyhound bus terminal, which was en route to Miami from Orlando.
“The Border Patrol agents approached a black woman who had an accent when she spoke English,” said Melissa Tavares with the Florida Immigrant Coalition. “She was the person that was singled out. She was asked for documentation, and then she was asked to leave the bus with her belongings.”
The U.S. Border Patrol released a statement that reads in part, “Border Patrol agents determined that a passenger was residing in the United States without the proper immigration status. The subject was transported to the Dania Beach Border Patrol station for further investigation and processing.”
“Imagine what her family felt, not knowing where she was the entire weekend,” Tavares said. “A lady, a grandmother that was literally just taking a trip from Orlando to Miami.”
According to officials, the woman overstayed her tourist visa. She has since been turned over to ICE and will be deported.
The deportation process is underway, although it remains unknown when exactly the woman will be taken back to her home country.
Border Patrol said that the raid was legal and that agents have jurisdiction within 100 miles of the ocean — giving them access to the entire State of Florida.
Tavares said that immigrants, like the subject, have rights. “She could have literally said, ‘I reserve my right to remain silent, and I will not speak with you without an attorney,’” Tavares said. “That’s her right. That’s everyone’s right, whether you have documents or not. It’s your right.”
Greyhound also released a statement that reads in part, “We are required to comply with all local, state and federal laws and cooperate with the relevant enforcement agencies if they ask to board our buses or enter stations.”
The Florida Immigrant Coalition said they think immigrants will be afraid to even ride Greyhound buses, which will hurt the transportation company’s business.
According to the immigrant coalition, if Border Patrol agents go to your house, they must have a judicial warrant to enter the premises