Bus Passengers Stunned When Border Patrol Boards And Asks For Proof Of Citizenship

Greyhound bus passengers in Florida were stunned when U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents stopped the vehicle for an immigration check. One woman who didn't have valid ID was taken into custody.

Video taken by passengers sparked outrage, and many people on the bus felt that the random check was a violation of their rights. Border Patrol defends the routine check and the fact that one woman was arrested.

The video was taken on Saturday on a Greyhound in Fort Lauderdale. Border Patrol agents boarded the bus around 4:30 p.m. and asked every passenger to show their ID to prove citizenship.

"Proof of citizenship is NOT required to ride a bus!" wrote the Florida Immigrant Coalition on Twitter.

One woman in the video can be heard asking, “This is new?”

Another woman who rides the bus regularly replied, "This is the first time."

As the passengers watched and filmed, the agents had a confrontation with a woman who didn't have papers to prove she was a citizen. Agents escorted her off the bus before the vehicle was allowed to go on its way again.

When the video was posted online it went viral quickly and racked up more than 3 million views. Many commenters were outraged by the agents, but Border Patrol claims that routine checks like this are not only normal, they've been going on for decades.

Any area within 100 miles from a U.S. border gives agents the right to conduct spot checks. They don't need probable cause to require ID, and it's long been part of a comprehensive effort to combat illegal immigration.

It's been going on for decades. Sometimes spot checks are random, and sometimes agents get a tip and perform the checks.

Many people feel the spot checks violate the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits illegal search and seizure.

“Without an official judicial warrant, Border Patrol agents should not be permitted to board the private property of the Greyhound corporation to harass its customers and violate their civil liberties,” immigration advocate Isabel Sousa-Rodriguez wrote in a letter.

“Floridians deserve to ride a bus in peace without having to carry a birth certificate or passport to go to Disney World, visit family, or commute for work.”

In fact, Border Patrol officers do have the right to perform random spot checks on a bus if they’re within a reasonable distance from the border.

Under Section 1357 of Title 8 of the United States Code, agents may 'board and search for aliens in any vessel within the territorial waters of the United States and any railcar, aircraft, conveyance, or vehicle'.

“It’s a traditional enforcement tactic,” Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies for the Center for Immigration Studies, said to Fox News in a comment. "It’s long known that smugglers often use public transportation like buses for their trade.”

"It’s a deterrent. It’s like a speed trap and it does result in the public being safer," she added.

Greyhound has put out a statement addressing angry passengers who felt the bus should not have stopped. According to the company, the driver had no choice.

“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. Unfortunately, even routine transportation checks negatively impact our operations and some customers directly," read a statement from the company.

Since the incident occurred, reports say the woman who was taken from the bus is from Jamaica and was in America to visit relatives.

Source: Fox News
Photo: Fox News, CBS News

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