The American Civil Liberties Union, members of the local Greyhound bus drivers’ union and representatives of other groups delivered 200,000 signed petitions to the Greyhound bus headquarters in downtown Dallas on Friday.
They’re demanding the company stop allowing border patrol agents onto its buses to question passengers.
Gathered in Main Street Garden Park, immigrant advocates said Greyhound has the right to refuse border patrol agents from boarding their buses without a warrant or probable cause.
The campaign, called Transportation Not Deportation, accuses U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents of racial profiling and violating passengers’ constitutional rights by asking that they prove their U.S. citizenship.
Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) said the practice is happening in heavily Hispanic areas and beyond border checkpoints.
“Greyhound is doing something that they don’t have to do. They’re subjecting many of their passengers who have paid them a fare, who have helped them thrive as a company for so many years in this great country,” Castro said. “They’re subjecting them to warrantless searches to racial profiling.”
After a series of speeches, the group walked several blocks to Greyhound’s headquarters carrying boxes containing 200,000 signed petitions.
Tricia Martinez, senior vice president for Greyhound’s legal department, read a statement from CEO Dave Leach.
The statement said the company understood customers’ concerns but that the searches were legal. She also said Greyhound didn’t support the searches and that it doesn’t coordinate with U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
“CBP officers do not ask our permission to board our buses,” Martinez said. “We do not want to put our drivers’ safety or our passengers at risk by attempting to stop federal agents from doing legal checks.”
The statement also said that the searches by CBP agents had negatively affected the company’s operations and its passengers.
More protests are planned in the coming weeks, including one in Los Angeles later this month.