MIAMI– After a woman was arrested aboard a Greyhound bus in Florida for being unable to provide legal documents proving her citizenship, U.S. Customs and Border Protection is defending its actions.
The arrest happened Friday in Fort Lauderdale, according to CBS Miami after U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents asked for passengers’ proof of citizenship.
In a a video posted on Twitter by the Florida Immigrant Coalition (FLIC), an agent appears to ask a woman where her belongings are before removing her from the vehicle.
In the tweet, FLIC points out that bus riders are not required to provide proof of citizenship.
The bus driver told passengers security was boarding the bus for a routine inspection, CBS Miami reports. The agents asked for proof of citizenship instead.
A passenger on the bus told CBS Miami the agents were looking for a U.S. ID or passport with a stamp of entrance.
Three days after the woman’s arrest, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Enforcement Removal Operations (ERO) started removal proceedings. Border Patrol officials said she overstayed her tourist visa.
Isabel Souza, membership director for FLIC, said she spoke with the woman’s daughter-in-law.
“She says she took her mother-in-law to the bus stop and hasn’t heard from her since,” Souza told CBS Miami. She also noted she’d heard accusations of such actions by border patrol agents in the past.
Greyhound provided this statement to CBS Miami:
“We are required to comply with all local, state and federal law…unfortunately, even routine transportation checks negatively impact our operations and some customers directly.”
While the agents were following the law, FLIC says they shouldn’t have been allowed on board without an official warrant.
Souza said citizens must ask questions and know who is looking at their documents because “…nobody is going to ask them for you.”
A U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials told CBS Miami agents routinely do enforcement operations at transportation hubs.