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WA AG Ferguson: Greyhound has ‘responsibility’ to stop immigration checks on buses

A Greyhound bus traveling through Washington state. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson voiced support for a recent decision from Greyhound to stop allowing Customs and Border Patrol to board Greyhound buses without warrants.

Inslee: ‘CBP lied’ about detention of Iranian-Americans at border

Greyhound made the announcement last week, after a leaked CBP memo contradicted a long-held stance from the company that it was required by law to allow agents to board its buses as far as almost 100 miles from the border.

The memo confirmed that Greyhound does not have to allow Border Patrol on board its buses as part of routine checks for illegal immigrants, a stance Attorney General Ferguson affirmed roughly a year ago, when he threatened legal action against the company and CBP.

He reiterated that stance in the wake of the company’s most recent announcement.

“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 responsibility to stand up for its customers, who suffered for far too long from Greyhound’s indifference to CBP’s suspicionless bus raids and harassment,” Ferguson detailed in a written statement.

Data from the University of Washington’s Center for Human Rights tallied 84 arrests at Spokane’s bus depot in 2019, up from just 35 in 2017. Greyhound bus routes travel east-to-west from that depot and do not cross the U.S./Canada border.

In the wake of Greyhound’s decision to stop allowing CBP on its buses sans a warrant, Ferguson has noted that his office is “not just going to take Greyhound’s word,” and that it will “be following up to ensure compliance.”

“It’s unfortunate it took a leaked memo and the threat of a lawsuit by my office before Greyhound acted,” he added.

CBP’s presence in Washington state has been the subject of more than one controversial incident in recent months, after dozens of Iranian-American citizens were detained at the U.S./Canada border crossing in Blaine in January.

Memo counters CBP claim about detaining Iranian-Americans

CBP has since admitted it “made mistakes” in that incident, after an internal memo was leaked that detailed a directive to conduct additional vetting to determine “extremist ideology,” and “deceptive behaviors,” as well as connections to the Shia sect of Islam, with “scrutiny on military questions.”

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