Screen grab via FLImmigrantCoalition/Twitter
In a case of déjà vu at its worst, on Friday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection boarded another Greyhound bus at a Fort Lauderdale bus station to ask passengers for legal documents that proved their citizenship, according to video evidence provided by the Florida Immigrant Coalition.
Per the FLIC, as a result, a native Trinidadian – who has reportedly lived in Miami for more than 12 years with no criminal record – was taken into custody while on his way to Fort Myers to visit a friend.
It’s the second time in a week that CPB agents have boarded a bus to demand proof of citizenship from those aboard. Last Friday, a Jamaican-born woman was hauled off a bus that stopped in Fort Lauderdale while in route from Orlando to Miami, after visiting her grandchild for the first time, activists claimed. The video went viral over the weekend.
Since the first incident last week, a number of lawmakers have shared their condemnations of CPB’s methods.
A joint statement from seven Florida Democrats and more than a dozen congressional lawmakers, including Rep. Darren Soto, D-Orlando, issued on Friday states: “We were appalled to see U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents abusing their mandate and authority to arbitrarily board a buss to demand that all passengers produce identification and documentation."
“We support strengthening our border protections against external threats and bolstering our officials in their work to keep Americans safe," the news release continues. "However, arbitrary and disruptive enforcement actions like this do not make our communities safer. Rather, they waste taxpayer resources, cruelly dehumanize people who have not committed any crimes and erode our fundamental rights. Identification is not required to ride a bus from one Florida city to another.”
Immigration authorities, however, have claimed
that their actions fall within their legal rights as authorities.
For more information on immigrants’ rights, call the Florida Immigration Coalition’s hotline: 1-888-600-5762.