SPOKANE, Wash. — Border Patrol officials in the Spokane area responded Wednesday to reports that Greyhound will stop allowing immigration checks.
The company announced the change Friday, one week after The Associated Press reported on a leaked Border Patrol memo confirming that agents can't board private buses without the consent of the bus company.
On Wednesday, U.S. Border Patrol Special Operations Supervisor Bill Kingsford sent KREM 2 a statement saying:
“The safety and security of all citizens is paramount to the U.S. Border Patrol and the blanket denial to board and search public transportation conveyances and conduct immigration checks creates a safe haven for illegal activity and exposes a huge vulnerability to the citizens of this country. Operations at public transportation nodes will remain a part of Spokane Sector’s enforcement strategy.”
Kingsford said agents would only board a bus “with consent or having probable cause.”
Greyhound had previously insisted that even though it didn't like the immigration checks, it had no choice under federal law but to allow them.
Meanwhile, a comedian from Portland, Oregon, is suing Border Patrol after he was ordered by officers to get off a bus in Spokane last year.
Mohanad Elshieky said he was interrogated for 20 minutes in January 2019 by agents who contended his papers were fake and that he was in the country illegally.
The administrative complaint he filed in April 2019 said Elshieky was detained by Border Patrol officers after producing valid identification documents demonstrating that Elshieky, who was granted asylum in the United States in 2018, was lawfully present in the country.