Greyhound, the nation’s largest bus company has announced they will not allow Customs and Border Patrol to conduct immigration checks on their buses without a warrant.
Last Friday, the Associated Press reported that Customs and Border Protection last month issued a memo to agents telling them they couldn’t search buses along the border without the bus company’s consent, as required by the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment.
The position—that the Fourth Amendment still applies in this country, even along the border—is made newsworthy by the fact that the country’s largest bus carrier, Greyhound, had maintained the opposite legal opinion for months, claiming it was powerless to stop CBP from boarding its fleet and searching its passengers along the Northern border, the Southern border, and both coastlines.
The Hill reports Greyhound, the nation’s largest bus company, said in a statement to The Hill that it will notify the Department of Homeland Security that it no longer consents to warrantless searches on its buses and terminal areas that are not open to the public. It will also give drivers and other employees updated training regarding the policy.
“Our primary concern is the safety of our customers and team members, and we are confident these changes will lead to an improved experience for all parties involved,” the company said. “We plan to begin the implementation of these changes immediately.”
U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which oversees Border Patrol, did not immediately respond a request for comment from The Hill regarding the new policy, which was first reported by The Associated Press.
Greyhound’s announcement comes after a Border Patrol memo was leaked saying that agents cannot board private buses without the company’s consent. Greyhound had previously said it had no choice but to allow warrantless searches under federal law.
The bus company had been under pressure from civil rights groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) over its policy regarding the Border Patrol sweeps, with critics saying the practice has spiked under President Trump.
“We are pleased to see Greyhound clearly communicate that it does not consent to racial profiling and harassment on its buses,” Andrea Flores, deputy director of policy for the ACLU’s Equality Division, told the AP. “By protecting its customers and employees, Greyhound is sending a message that it prioritizes the communities it serves.”
Greyhound critics maintained they will ensure the company complies with its new policy.
“Today’s announcement from Greyhound confirms what should have been obvious to the company since I contacted them a year ago – it has both the power and the responsibility to stand up for its customers, who suffered for far too long from Greyhound’s indifference to CBP’s suspicion-less bus raids and harassment,” said Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who had pressured the company to block the sweeps.
— Washington State Attorney General (@AGOWA) February 22, 2020