In 2010 Greyhound became the “New Greyhound” with new a logo, new sleek lined buses and much more. Now seven-years later it appears the company want folks to ignore the over-bookings, lack of clean toilets and occasional sleeping drivers by unofficially launching the “New New Greyhound.”
And that means offering new services that include invasion of privacy, deportations and fear – all at no extra cost. Services allowed by Greyhound and provided by the Department of Homeland Security, specifically Immigration and Customs (ICE) agents.
Last week on a routine Orlando-to-Miami trip the driver announced a “routine security checkpoint” at Ft. Lauderdale, which meant Greyhound had allowed immigration agents to come on the bus and ask all the passengers to provide proof of citizenship. Is it possible someone could of lost their papers wiping up the overflowing toilet? Or what if someone forgot to pack them? The 235 mile trek was nowhere near a border or in a public space meaning parked. So what gives?
The agents found a 60-year-old Caribbean grandmother without the right papers and she now sits in an immigration detention center. The only positive was the ICE agent carried her luggage which is more some Greyhound staff does according to some customers.
No one would of found out about this incident had it not been filmed and spread like wildfire on social media. Outrage ensued though not enough by Greyhound that basically said we let the government do what they want when they want on our property.
Several days later on the same route another “security check” occurred and another ask for citizenship papers from passengers that ensnared a Trinidian man, that is being identified as someone in the country illegally having lived here for 12-years without a criminal record.
So is Greyhounds not happy offering the occasional gross bathroom, spotty Wi-Fi and sporadic customer service? Is the company that has been around since 1914 going to ask its employees like it did in 2005 to not sell tickets to undocumented immigrants – so it doesn’t lose passengers mid-route.
Or better yet why doesn’t it tell ICE to stay off its buses, considered private property, and leave its passengers alone?
Generally, immigration searches on public transportation are unusual and considered by many human rights organizations as an overreach. Immigration agents generally protect the U.S. border or coastline.
Rumors are now rampant that ICE agents are stopping Greyhounds and taking off people at their whim. So far there have not been additionally documented cases except for the two Florida incidents. Greyhound however does have nearly 1,300 buses serving nearly 4,000 destinations in North America – so it hard to say those buses have not been stopped. And Greyhound does not report the immigration stops.
The documented Florida incident has prompted the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and other congressional members to comment:
“We were appalled to see U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents abusing their mandate and authority to arbitrarily board a bus to demand that all passengers produce identification and documentation.”
HSN Staff Writers
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