U.S. Border Patrol agents recently took an individual off a Greyhound bus in Florida after allegedly asking passengers on board for proof of citizenship, according to The Miami Herald.
The Herald on Monday reported that the Border Patrol’s Miami section confirmed that the incident had occurred three days before outside the Fort Lauderdale station.
“On [Friday], while performing an immigration inspection at a Ft. Lauderdale bus station, Border Patrol agents identified a passenger who was illegally residing in the United States,” it said in an email.
“The subject was an adult female that had overstayed her tourist visa,” the email continued.
“She was arrested and transported to the Dania Beach Border Patrol station for further investigation and later turned over to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Enforcement Removal Operations (ERO) for removal proceedings.”
The email did not specify whether or not the agents involved asked those on board for proof of citizenship during Friday’s incident.
The message did, however, cite portions of federal law that give sweeping powers to Border Patrol agents.
A passenger on Friday’s bus traveling the Orlando-to-Miami route took video of the encounter between travelers and Border Patrol agents.
The footage was posted Saturday to the Florida Immigration Coalition’s Twitter page and has since gone viral.
The Florida Immigration Coalition says that the woman is from Jamaica and was visiting her granddaughter for the first time.
The Border Patrol confirmed that a woman on the bus had an expired tourist visa and was arrested.
“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,” Isabel Sousa-Rodriguez, the Florida Immigration Coalition’s membership director, said in a statement.
“Floridians deserved 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.”
The U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment is included in the Bill of Rights and prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures.
The Washington Post on Tuesday reported that federal regulations give Customs and Border Protection the ability to operate within 100 miles of any U.S. border.
Florida lies entirely within a zone containing either U.S. coastal or land borders, and Border Patrol agents have broad powers within such boundaries.
Agents can, without a warrant, arrest or interrogate any person they have reason to believe is in the U.S. illegally and may escape before such materials can be obtained when in these zones.
The Florida Immigrant Coalition maintains a hotline at 1-888-600-5762 for helping immigrants understand their constitutional rights when dealing with the Border Patrol or law enforcement.
The immigration advocacy group has also launched a petition urging Greyhound to stop allowing Border Patrol agents on their buses which is available here.