Greyhound bans immigration checks on buses

Greyhound bans immigration checks on buses

Wow. I just can’t wait to see how this plays out once this report shows up in the Oval Office.

Greyhound, one of the oldest passenger bus lines in the country, has announced that it will no longer allow Border Patrol agents to board its buses to check the immigration and citizenship status of passengers. Stickers will be placed on all of their buses informing law enforcement that they won’t be allowed on the bus unless they have a warrant to search for a specific suspect. I’ve got a feeling that somebody at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue isn’t going to be a fan of this policy change. (Associated Press)

Greyhound, the nation’s largest bus company, said Friday it will stop allowing Border Patrol agents without a warrant to board its buses to conduct routine immigration checks.

The company’s announcement came one week after The Associated Press reported on a leaked Border Patrol memo confirming that agents can’t board private buses without the consent of the bus company. Greyhound had previously insisted that even though it didn’t like the immigration checks, it had no choice under federal law but to allow them.

In an emailed statement, the company said it would notify the Department of Homeland Security that it does not consent to unwarranted searches on its buses or in areas of terminals that are not open to the public — such as company offices or any areas a person needs a ticket to access.

Perhaps this news isn’t quite as bad as it could be, which isn’t saying much. The memo that the AP obtained specifies that this policy would apply “at non-checkpoint locations.” That’s important because the first thought that crossed my mind was to wonder if we couldn’t even check passengers at border crossings. That’s just an invitation to illegal immigrants that would cost no more than a bus ticket.

Still, it’s not good. But what can the White House do about it, right? I mean, after all, Greyhound is a private company and they set their own policies. Well… not so fast.

We’ve seen President Trump in action before on these types of disputes. Both state governments and private companies frequently rely on the good graces of the federal government to get things done. And as it turns out, in order for Greyhound to legally operate their business with any bus routes that cross state lines, there are a few legal hoops to jump through. Primarily, they need a Motor Carrier Number (MCN) issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

In order to qualify for an MCN from the FMCSA, the company is required to show, among other things, that they are properly ensuring the safety of their passengers. But are you really doing that if you won’t allow law enforcement to make sure there are no potentially criminal illegal aliens in their midst? Seems to me that President Trump could pick up the phone and call the head of the FMCSA and direct them to look into the matter.

Say… nice Motor Carrier Number you’ve got there. Be a real shame if anything were to happen to it.

Suspend the company’s MCN and they’re out of business the same day, except for local routes that don’t cross state lines. And each state also has its own Motor Carrier Safety Administration to cover companies running local routes. Any of the red states with governors more sympathetic to Trump’s agenda could probably consider a similar phone call.

Would that be dirty pool? Well, at a minimum it would certainly be an example of playing hardball. But would Trump actually do it? Just ask all the people in New York who can no longer get into the Trusted Traveler programs.

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