Screen grab via FLImmigrantCoalition/Twitter
On Friday, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency boarded a Greyhound bus in Fort Lauderdale to ask passengers for legal documents that proved their citizenship, the Florida Immigrant Coalition claims.
A black woman of Caribbean descent, who asked that FLIC withhold her name due to fear of retaliation, was detained in the process.
A video captured by an anxious passenger shows a border agent questioning a woman aboard the bus after it was stopped, inquiring about the location of her belongings, then escorting the woman off the bus. According to FLIC’s statement, border patrol officials have jurisdiction within 100 miles of the ocean, which applies to Florida in its entirety.
Prior to the incident, the bus driver reportedly told passengers that “security agents” were about to board the bus for what was described as a routine check. However, once aboard, Customs and Border Protection demanded papers from every rider, the statement claims.
In a statement to FLIC, the daughter-in-law of the woman removed from the bus says she has not heard from her since Friday’s incident.
It’s incidents like these that erode the public trust in police and authority figures whose job is to serve and protect our communities, says Isabel Sousa-Rodriguez, membership director for FLIC.
“Floridians deserve to ride a bus in peace without having to carry a birth certificate or passport to go to Disney world, visit family, or commute for work. This is why we call on our state Senators to oppose House Bill 9, which was approved in the Florida House of Representatives on January 12,” Sousa-Rodriguez says.
She adds: “HB9 would mandate that all state and municipal employees collaborate with immigration officials in racial profiling and deportation operations like this one. We are in communication with the family of the woman in the video who border patrol pulled off the bus. She has since gone missing and we are working to determine her whereabouts and well-being.”
The video, which was shared by FLIC on Saturday, has since been viewed more than 34,000 times.
For information on immigrants’ rights, call the Florida Immigration Coalition’s hotline: 1-888-600-5762.