Tags: Immigration | democrats | border patrol | ask for ids | greyhound bus

House Dems to US Customs: Bus ID Checks 'Cruelly Dehumanize People'

House Dems to US Customs: Bus ID Checks 'Cruelly Dehumanize People'
A Border Patrol officer requests identification of travelers on a Greyhound bus in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The agents escorted a Jamaican woman off the bus. (Raquel Quezada via AP)

By    |   Friday, 26 January 2018 05:43 PM

House Democrats came out swinging at the U.S. Border Patrol on Friday after a video emerged showing armed agents boarding a Greyhound bus in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and checking the IDs of passengers.

"We were appalled to see U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents abusing their mandate and authority to arbitrarily board a bus to demand that all passengers produce identification and documentation," some 20 representatives wrote in a letter to the federal agency.

"We support strengthening our border protections against external threats and bolstering our officials in their work to keep Americans safe. However, arbitrary and disruptive enforcement actions like this do not make our communities safer.

"Rather, they waste taxpayer resources, cruelly dehumanize people who have not committed any crimes, and erode our fundamental rights. Identification is not required to ride a bus from one Florida city to another."

The two-minute video, posted by the Florida Immigration Coalition, is dated Jan. 19th and depicts border agents asking for IDs. One woman is taken into custody and an agent is seen removing a piece of luggage from an overhead rack.

The representatives who signed the letter said federal law does give CBP officials the right to conduct transportation checks "within a reasonable distance" from the U.S.-Mexico border.

"[But] this event and others like it across the country show that Congress must conduct a comprehensive review of what 'reasonable distance' means. The 100-mile border zone established by U.S. regulations arbitrarily extends CBP jurisdiction and undercuts the rights for citizens and legal residents to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures," they wrote.

"In Florida, this arbitrary zone puts everyone in the state under constant threat of stops, interrogations, and searches without even the most basic due process protections. We regret that visitors to Fort Lauderdale were subjected to this raid, and will work together to push for reasonable limits on border agent authority that protect our civil liberties."

The letter was signed by Ted Deutch, Alcee Hastings, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Frederica Wilson, Michelle Lujan Grisham, Yvette Clarke, Stacey Plaskett, Jerrold Nadler, Sheila Jackson Lee, Luis Guti�rrez, Hakeem Jeffries, Karen Bass, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Kathy Castor, Joaquin Castro, Darren Soto, Al Lawson, Adriano Espaillat, Jimmy Gomez and Norma Torres.

The Florida Immigration Coalition said the bus involved in the ID check was traveling from Miami to Orlando.

"[The agents were] demanding proof of citizenship from shocked passengers who argued that they had no reason to carry such documents on a local bus route that wasn't crossing any borders," the group said in a statement.

"An elderly Black Jamaican lady was profiled, targeted, removed from the bus, detained, and is now imprisoned in a GEO for-profit immigrant prison, leaving her family wondering where she could be and what had happened to her.

"Americans deserve to ride a bus in peace without having to carry a birth certificate or passport to travel. In 2018, it is outrageous that there is an apartheid-like passbook requirement to travel within your own state."

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House Democrats came out swinging at the U.S. Border Patrol on Friday after a video emerged showing armed agents boarding a Greyhound bus in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and checking the IDs of passengers.
democrats, border patrol, ask for ids, greyhound bus
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2018-43-26
Friday, 26 January 2018 05:43 PM
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