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Do you need proof of citizenship to take the bus?

Video of two uniformed U.S. Border Patrol agents boarding a Greyhound bus in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and instructing passengers to show proof of citizenship has spread concern across the country. A few minutes after entering the bus, the officers emerged escorting a woman off the bus. Border Patrol confirmed that a woman on the bus had an expired tourist visa and had been arrested. Activists in the immigrant community are pushing for restrictions that do not allow Border Patrol agents to board private Greyhound buses to question travelers without a judicial warrant.

Immigration inspection

The Immigration and Nationality Act grants Border Control officers the right to conduct searches, without a warrant, within 100 miles of any U.S. border. The entire state of Florida is within 100 miles of the coast, so there is no escaping the federal regulations. For Texans, after the legislative ban on “sanctuary cities” took effect last May, police have since been able to inquire about the immigration status of anyone they detain. Whether it is a criminal offense or riding the bus, local authorities are stopping immigrants and asking them for papers.

What to do if ICE joins in on your next Greyhound trip

At any point, including being detained, you have the right to remain silent. If you have valid immigration papers, you should provide them. However, never give agents fake documents. Make sure you do not block the officers from performing their duties. If Border Patrol questions you, an example of how to answer is: “I am not required to answer your questions about my immigration status and do not wish to do so.” Documented or undocumented, everyone deserves equal rights.

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