The Greyhound bus company allows federal agents from Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to board its buses and ask passengers for their “papers” even when CBP has no warrant, no probable cause, and no specific person they’re looking for. 

In January 2018, CBP boarded a Greyhound bus in Detroit, questioned two passengers about their immigration status, demanded that they produce documentation, and took one of them into custody. Similar incidents were reported throughout the country. When questioned about the incidents by the media, Greyhound claimed that it was required to cooperate with CBP. 

In March 2018, the ACLU of Michigan along with ACLU affiliates in nine other states wrote a letter to Greyhound explaining that, as a private company, it is not required to allow government agents to board its buses unless they have a warrant or probable cause. We urged Greyhound to assert its Fourth Amendment rights, and those of its passengers, to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures by government agents. ACLU volunteers also distributed “know your rights” materials at the Greyhound bus station in Detroit to provide passengers with information about what to do if CBP boarded their bus. 

(ACLU of Michigan Attorneys Abril Valdes and Michael J. Steinberg, and Legal Fellow Monica Andrade.)

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Defending liberty