The nation’s largest commercial bus company announced Friday it will no longer allow Border Patrol agents to check passengers’ immigration status without a warrant.
The bus company said in an emailed statement that it no longer consents to any Border Patrol agents or Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers conducting unwarranted searches on its buses or terminal areas that are not open to the public, The Associated Press reported.
Such non-public areas would include company offices or places where a ticket is required, the company said.
“Our primary concern is the safety of our customers and team members, and we are confident these changes will lead to an improved experience for all parties involved,” read a Greyhound statement.
The company said it is providing bus station employees and drivers with training on the updated policy. Greyhound also said it would be placing stickers on its buses denoting that the company won’t consent to unwarranted immigration searches.
The decision comes after Greyhound came under heavy criticism from Leftist and immigrant rights groups for allowing Border Patrol officials to board its buses to verify the immigration status of passengers.
The agency has long maintained that these checks are an efficient way to crack down on narcotics smuggling, human trafficking and illegal immigration.
Immigration rights organizations praised the decision.
“We are pleased to see Greyhound clearly communicate that it does not consent to racial profiling and harassment on its buses,” American Civil Liberties Union deputy director Andrea Flores told the AP. “By protecting its customers and employees, Greyhound is sending a message that it prioritizes the communities it serves.”
Despite the criticism, Greyhound officials said the company had to allow Border Patrol agents access to passengers to conduct immigration checks.
However, an internal Border Patrol memo, signed by former Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost in January and leaked to the AP, confirmed that the Fourth Amendment prohibited agents from searching private buses without consent or without a warrant.