Immigration

Suspicionless Immigration Bus Sweep Caught on Video

If you hear "papers, please" on a Greyhound, thank the Supreme Court.

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A video appearing to show agents of the U.S. Border Patrol boarding an interstate bus in Fort Lauderdale, Florida went viral on Twitter over the weekend. The agents move down the bus' aisle, asking each passenger to provide some form of documentation proving that they are in the country legally.

Watch below:

Not surprisingly, the video has drawn largely critical reactions. Officers demanding that passengers "show their papers" during a suspicionless sweep of a bus not crossing any international boundary? It may seem more like a relic from history or a scene from dystopian fiction than something most Americans expect to encounter in their daily travels.

But not if you've been paying attention. Sadly, such suspicionless immigration sweeps are more common than many people think. Far from being a rare action by rogue agents, these "roving patrols" are a routine part of Border Patrol operations, and their frequency has been slowly increasing since 9/11.

Blame the Supreme Court for the practice's persistence. In a series of decisions going back to the 1970s, the Court has conferred immigration and customs authorities with ever-increasing power to detain, question, and search people "within a reasonable distance from any external boundary of the United States." The feds have interpreted this to mean that immigration agents may conduct enforcement operations at any location within 100 miles of a land or sea border. That area encompasses most of America's major cities, and it is home to roughly two thirds of the country's residents.

Immigration authorities' power within this zone, the Supreme Court said, includes the power to detain travelers long enough to elicit "response to a brief question or two and possibly the production of a document evidencing a right to be in the United States," even without any articulable suspicion.

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77 responses to “Suspicionless Immigration Bus Sweep Caught on Video

  1. It’s about time. If clear violations of the Fourth Amendment prevent even one person from obtaining a job without express written permission of the federal government, then it will all be worth it.

    1. It doesn’t violate the 4th the SC said so.

    1. Ausweis bitte!

    2. Jawohl, mein Herr, einen moment.

  2. I’d imagine most people riding a bus can’t produce any paper to prove they are in the country legally. I don’t normally carry my passport or birth certificate around, and I’d imagine most people don’t. I carry a driver’s license, but that doesn’t prove anything regarding citizenship. And if you’re riding a greyhound, there’s a decent chance you don’t even have a driver’s license. So what passes muster on these searches?

    1. That was my thought as well. What if a person can’t produce such a document?

      One is not legally required to carry ID in public in the US. How can it be reasonable to demand it of anyone who isn’t specifically suspected of some crime?

      I guess you do have to show ID to buy a bus ticket now (for some reason that is probably also terrible). But as you say, that’s not proof of citizenship.

    2. I’m guessing skin lighter than taupe and an inability to roll an “R”.

      But who are we kidding, once one side’s deployed this and been enabled because Team!, the other Team will deploy this for some form of groupthink violation, and everyone will be outraged then, and only then, and respond by telling everyone how imperative it is that we put the original Team back in power. At which point the outrage can shift sides and the loop can reset.

      1. It’s this sort of cynicism that keeps the worse people in power. And there is a worse team. They’re the ones being led by a stroked-out orangutan whose primary policy goal is to deport the brown people.

        1. They are all rotten to the core, one way or another. If you think for one minute any politician has your or anyone else’s best interests at heart, you could not be more wrong.

          1. “Might as well vote for Republicans. They’re all the same!”

            *Republicans destroy things even more*

            “Politicians suck still, huh?”

            1. Yes, they all suck.

        2. Because Half Of Americans Are Inferior

          #PartyOfEquality

          1. One chooses to be a Republican. But progressive utopia offers plenty of mental health services for free.

            1. Re-education camps, eh comrade?

            2. Because Half Of Americans Are Mentally Ill

              #PartyOfEquality

              1. If the shoe fits.

                #LookWhoTheyMadePresident

                1. Yes, we wouldn’t want someone with a history of enabling sexual assault, delegitimizing the victims’ claims, using their charities for personal gain, maintaining separate private and personal world-views, making policy gifts to Wall Street cronyist rent-seekers, maintaining the status quo on drug laws, seeking to erect a massive barrier on the southern border, and deporting hundreds of South and Central American children to their deaths in the Oval Office, would we?

                  #LookWhoTheyAlmostMadePresident
                  #IBelieveHer,ExceptThisOneTime
                  #FriendsOfWJC
                  #DeportingBrownKidsOnlyCountsWhenTheyDoIt

                  1. But she’s not a fucking insane person.

                    1. With ends like these, who needs diagnoses?

            3. We have differing opinions about the definition of “free”. Is the food “free” too? The mental health professionals are going to need it to feed their kids.

        3. Tell me how much Pelosi or Feinstein opined on the horrible transgressions of the recent proposed surveillance bills.

          I’ll wait.

          1. Proposed and passed.

    3. A number of states currently issue driver licenses that are compliant with the REAL ID Act, which I believe requires some proof of citizenship or lawful immigration status.

      1. That rules Cali out. They only require your so-so security number to get a driver’s license if you’re a citizen. Non-citizens get a free pass because equal treatment under the law is only for the other states.

  3. I was stopped by Border Patrol on I95 near Bangor one sunny day. They had the highway blocked.

    All they did was ask if we were citizens. We say “Yes” and that was that.

    Still, being accosted by tall and lanky guys in green uniforms with guns is no fun. We laughed about it afterwards. I was tempted to say “Oui” but that would not have gone over well. This was before I came across Reason and started accosting y’all with my inanity. Whatever. Nobody gives a shit.

    1. All I have to do is spout off after a few drinks and friendships I’ve built over years are gone in an instant. So why bother? Fuck you all.

      1. FWIW, I don’t think you’ve burned all your bridges if you ever want to try to return to the good graces of certain google groups.

        1. No. I was on probation before I was let in. I’m out. They all hate me. Dan, JD, people who you thought were forgiving. No. I’m persona non grata. I am a worm.

        2. One mistake. And everyone hates you. Everyone.

        3. It’s alright. I’ve spent most of my life in a suicidal depression. No one has cared, and I haven’t offed myself (to the disappointment of many, including the reasonoids), so I trudge on.

        4. Returning to a group means going through Dan. He hates me. Not gonna happen.

        5. I pissed of the rich guy. End of story.

          1. End of story.

            If only.

        6. Don’t question it or you will be shunned. My life is being shunned and anyone who gets close to me being shunned. Including my child.

          Walk away.

          1. I am worthless. I wish I didn’t have a child so I could do what everyone except her wants. Now I have to stay alive.

            1. Some of us love you sarc, me included.

            2. You’re all right with me.

              Or, you suck balls.

              Whichever makes you feel better.

              1. Call me Tony. The number is there.

            3. …are you quoting something, or does someone need to contact your local suicide hotline for you?

              1. No hotline. Please. I will live the night.

            4. I need to talk with someone.
              Too oh seben
              Fer fibe seben
              Zeebo tree too fibe.

              1. No gun is to my head.

              2. I ain’t selling anything

              3. Wow. I expected haters. But nothing? I am more or a loser than I imagined.
                Tooo oh seben
                Fer fibe seben
                Er tree fer fibe
                I am retarded.

                1. Jeebus. I willl be ditching thin number within the week

                  207 457 0325

                  AaaaAasrhhdjyfnmgfbhjk

                  1. sighs

                    I don’t know what you’re doing, or why you’re doing it, or whether you’re intoxicated, or what you’re intoxicated by if you are (although I have strong guesses about the last two of those questions).

                    But assuming that you genuinely are depressed and lonely, I will just say:

                    If you think the only people you can talk to in this world are a group of people who I gather include “JD” and “Dan”, your kid, and the people that come by this comment section? You’re wrong.

                    You’re not likely to find a Lifetime-TV-movie type friendship in a comment section. But there are lots of people- maybe family; if not them, maybe other friends; if not them, then whoever you meet next at your job, or your gym, or your gun range, or your dating profile, or if all that somehow fails a new job or gym or range or dating site- who are standing ready to be your new social support group.

                    There are 330 million warm bodies in this country alone. If you feel like there’s no one around to be your friend, it’s just because you haven’t been looking in the right places.

                    And if you are just trolling, then well done, you just made me spend 10 minutes writing this fucking thinkpiece of a response.

                    1. you just made me spend 10 minutes writing this fucking thinkpiece of a response.

                      I’d point out that it sounds as if it would have been quicker to call the number.

                      “Yo. ‘Sup. You doin’?”

                      I would point this out, but I won’t, because I already know that doing so will be perceived as a challenge to be reacted to with aggression. After all, Sarc made you spend ten minutes writing a response and everything.

                      These pretzels, man. So thirsty.

                    2. This is what I get for trying to lighten the mood with a self-effacing closing sentence.

                      It’s not my fault you apparently can’t read “author tone” for shit.

                    3. I’ve heard it said that failure to communicate effectively lies with the writer for misreading the projected audience.

                      I, personally, think that theory only applies if the audience both understands the author’s anticipated tone and makes an effort to interpret things accordingly. To restate in different words – people have to both know what the other person’s cues are, and desire to read them as presented.

                      Dalmia needs to know her audience, and her audience needs to know Dalmia.

                      This is rather more complicated than mere words convey, because… well… Dalmia is fucking annoying to a lot of her audience and vice versa, ergo Dalmia doesn’t want to know her audience, and her audience doesn’t want to know Dalmia.

                      I might be wrong, but this is what it looks like from here.

                      The distorted market we currently enjoy (ha. ha. ha.) means that we have limited choices beyond Dalmia, and for her part she can’t figure out what she’s doing that bothers the audience so much when the echo chamber she lives in keeps telling her everything she does and says is correct.

                      I’m guessing you perceive yourself to have been challenged, and responded accordingly and bristly – which is perfectly rational. Not enough people admit this. We are omnivorous primates with a predator instinct and brain physiology which incentivizes some of our worst behaviours.

                    4. Character limit.

                      To continue.

                      No. To conclude.

                      You are correct. I may have not read your comment in the desired tone, I merely question whether you had any reason to expect me to. Easier to redirect – but in your defense that only works if folks are in the habit of allowing for redirection.

                      It’s like the JFK quote. Those who make peaceful resistance impossible make violent resistance inevitable. It’s okay to tell me I’ve misunderstood you – in that vein, I understand why such did not occur to you. We don’t exactly incentive accommodation and understanding as much as we do conflict and one-upmanship, and we get what we reward.

                    5. I’ve heard it said that failure to communicate effectively lies with the writer for misreading the projected audience

                      Putting aside that you weren’t the intended audience, every author makes a choice about how much to expect of his readership’s capacity for perception. I deliberately set mine as high as I consider my own to be- and the result is that I routinely have commenters, including at least 2 in the last few weeks, take my sarcastic comments or faux-rude tone literally. And I’m not going to change, because I refuse to coddle the humorously-challenged. My comments are not that clever- thus you people have no excuse for not getting them. And so I’m not going to use the “/sarc” tag or otherwise give you some kind of training wheels.

                      I may have not read your comment in the desired tone, I merely question whether you had any reason to expect me to

                      How many people do you know who refer to their own comments as “fucking thinkpieces” in something other than a self-effacing manner? To say nothing of the general expectation of impending snarkiness anyone ought to have when entering the H’n’R comment section.

                    6. We don’t exactly incentive accommodation and understanding as much as we do conflict and one-upmanship, and we get what we reward.

                      Not sure where you’re getting “we” here, seeing as my response to sarcasmic was not intended as one-upsmanship. The way I saw it, I was trying to talk up a seemingly depressed person, while still maintaining my customary H’n’R snarkiness, when I was viciously and inhumanly assaulted by a passing brigand.

                      …And in case there’s any confusion: yes, “viciously”, “inhumanly” and “assaulted” are meant to be comic exaggeration.

                      And yes, I absolutely do feel “challenged” by this bit of sarcasm on your part:

                      After all, Sarc made you spend ten minutes writing a response and everything

                      …because it was one, whether you admit it or not. Make a barbed comment, expect a barbed comment back. You started it.

                    7. And yes, I absolutely do feel “challenged” by this bit of sarcasm on your part:

                      After all, Sarc made you spend ten minutes writing a response and everything
                      …because it was one,.

                      I’d point out that your central premise involves the ability to read my mind, but that would probably not have any better luck at getting you to react rationally rather than aggressively.

                      Why don’t you instead tell me what I’m thinking right now.

                    8. I’d point out that your central premise involves the ability to read my mind

                      No more than your original comment’s was.

                      but that would probably not have any better luck at getting you to react rationally rather than aggressively

                      Those reactions are not exclusive. I have been reacting rationally and aggressively, because aggression is the rational response to aggression.

                      The problem here is that you still won’t accept that you started this fight, and, thus, have no right to demand cordiality from the person you attacked. The tone of my response to sarc was cantankerous, but in a self-deprecating and sarcastic way that anyone with any experience in this comment section would recognize. Your first comment, by contrast, was snide and condescending, behind a passive-aggressive facade – as have been all your comments since.

                      You are gaslighting.

                      Why don’t you instead tell me what I’m thinking right now

                      If the pattern holds, something condescending, pedantic, and breathtakingly hypocritical.

                    9. Oh, and PS, I forthrightly admit that my responses to you since have been snide, condescending, aggressive, etc.: the difference is that A, mine were retaliatory rather than initiating, and B, my condescending and aggressive criticism is correct where yours was and is incorrect.

                      If your initial comment’s criticism of me had been correct, I would not have had any right to complain about your aggressive tone and counter-attack. But it was not, and so I do.

          2. lol. People will call the cops before providing help, knowing that cops only bring violence.

            1. sarcasmic, please stick around. Send me an email at chem dot jeff at yahoo dot com if you wish.

    2. Bangor one sunny day

      Even if it’s cloudy.

    3. Yes, these thugs can waste your time and make you uncomfortable, but some part of me that hasn’t died yet thinks there would be some value in telling them to fuck off. Prove that I’m not here legally. Isn’t that the essence of our system, a presumption of innocence and liberty? With the messed up stew of accents that I have from everywhere in the northeast, where exactly do they propose to deport me to?

      Like Dred Scott, SCOTUS does mess up bigtime at times. This was one of them.

  4. As someone who due to my job has to routinely go through immigration checkpoints, the easiest proof of citizenship seems to be to use my method – be a white male with no accent. When asked if I am a US citizen, I reply “yes”, and that is sufficient.

    1. be a white male with no accent. When asked if I am a US citizen, I reply “yes”, and that is sufficient

      Apparently, as indicated by Reason’s resident racist-Indian, there’s a field or halo effect whereby those in close proximity can be vouched for. At least, going into Canada anyway (however relevant that is to US immigration policy).

    2. My strategy at the Canadian borders is to be white. Have a nexus card. Look annoyed at all the brown people who got in the wrong line.

  5. We can’t just have open borders, people.

    That’s Koch brothers immigration policy.

    1. Hmmm. Online sources seem to refute this. Please cite or explain your point.

      1. My source is Bernie Sanders.

        What’s your source, Drumpftkin cuck?

        1. Tells me all I need to know. Thanks.

          1. It “tells you” that it’s a parody account, right?

            1. Ain’t they all?

  6. Better 100 innocent bystanders get harassed than a single Mexican go undeported.

    1. 100? Who are you kidding? Greyhounds hold about 50-60 people tops. Be glad the Broader Patrol isn’t hanging around the bus station to accost folk buying tickets to Tijuana but of course they wouldn’t have an audience quite so captive. No, it’s easier than catching them coming over the wall in Florida.

      Oh wait,

  7. What’s sad is reading the Twitter replies, most of whom say something along the lines of ‘Isn’t this against the 4th Amendment?’. To which the answer is, as Alec Ward points out, ‘the Supremes said it wasn’t, and unfortunately, that’s all we got”.
    It’s disgusting, and all the Nazi and Communist cutesy allusions (Papiere, bitte…) are right on, but this is our world now.

    That and deporting doctors who’ve been here for forty years because they pled guilty to a minor theft thirty-five years ago and have been living exemplary lives since then. Apparently, we desperately need protection against such people.

  8. I used to ride the Greyhound home from college. We would get this kind of stop all the time north of San Diego, all the way north to San Onofre. The big difference was, back then they only asked for identification from those who looked swarthy. My Canadian friend, who was panicking because he forget his passport, was never questioned. My other friend, whose family had been in California from before it was ever part of the US, got the special scrutiny just because he had brown skin.

    1. That’s just a single anecdote, this is NOT about race, it’s about the rule of law!

      /sarc

    2. Happened to me too, on a bus in the same stretch of highway. Being Italian, and somewhat swarthy (California beaches) the guy asked where I was from. I answered Pittsburgh with the right accent and that was the end of it. On my panhead with an extended front end and drag pipes they just waved me through.

  9. “Suspicionless Immigration Bus Sweep Caught on Video

    The agents move down the bus’ aisle, asking each passenger to provide some form of documentation proving that they are in the country legally.”

    What evidence is there that the stop wasn’t for reasonable suspicion?
    That they asked “each” passenger?
    That for all those they asked, they asked for proof of citizenship?

    I see one person removed from a bus by Border Police.

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