Fourth Amendment

Greyhound Finally Says No to Random Border Patrol 'Checks' of Its Buses

The company cited a recent federal memo clarifying that agents are expected to obey the Constitution.

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For years Greyhound, by far the largest operator of intercity bus service in the United States, has routinely allowed Border Patrol agents to board its buses without warrants or probable cause. During those "transportation checks," which have become increasingly common under the Trump administration, agents interrogate passengers with brown skin or foreign accents, asking for proof that they are in the country legally. Last Friday, Greyhound announced that it would no longer tolerate such harassment of its customers, reversing a policy that was based on an unconstitutionally broad understanding of the Border Patrol's legal authority.

Even while complaining about the impact of the bus sweeps on its customers and its operations, Greyhound had justified its policy by citing 8 USC 1357. That law says Border Patrol agents "shall have power without warrant…to board and search for aliens any vessel within the territorial waters of the United States and any railway car, aircraft, conveyance, or vehicle," provided the search occurs "within a reasonable distance from any external boundary of the United States," defined as a 100-mile zone that happens to include about two-thirds of the country's population.

But as the American Civil Liberties Union pointed out, that sweeping power is  inconsistent with the Fourth Amendment's ban on unreasonable searches and seizures. In Almeida-Sanchez v. United States, a 1973 case involving a Border Patrol car search 25 miles from the Mexican border that was conducted without probable cause or consent, the Supreme Court rejected the government's claim that the search was authorized by 8 USC 1357. "No Act of Congress can authorize a violation of the Constitution," it noted.

The Department of Homeland Security, which includes the Border Patrol and its parent agency, Customs and Border Protection (CBP), seemed to acknowledge the implications of that decision in its regulations, saying "an immigration officer may not enter into the non-public areas of a business…unless the officer has either a warrant or the consent of the owner or other person in control of the site to be inspected." Those "non-public areas" include Greyhound's buses, which ordinarily are open only to employees and passengers with tickets. But that general policy was not enough to reassure Greyhound CEO David Leach, who worried that barring the Border Patrol from the company's buses would lead to confrontations between armed agents and its drivers.

Greyhound's reversal is based on a more specific internal CBP memo that the Associated Press recently obtained. "When transportation checks occur on a bus at non-checkpoint locations, the agent must demonstrate that he or she gained access to the bus with the consent of the company's owner or one of the company's employees," Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost says in that January 28 memo.

"We welcome the clarity that this change in protocol brings, as it aligns with our previously stated position, which is that we do not consent to warrantless searches," Greyhound said. "We are providing drivers and terminal employees with updated training regarding this policy change." The company said it would put signs on its buses "clearly displaying our position" and send "a letter to the Department of Homeland Security formally stating we do not consent to warrantless searches on our buses and in terminal areas that are not open to the general public."

The ACLU welcomed Greyhound's new policy. "We are pleased to see Greyhound clearly communicate that it does not consent to racial profiling and harassment on its buses," said Andrea Flores, deputy director of policy for the ACLU's Equality Division. "By protecting its customers and employees, Greyhound is sending a message that it prioritizes the communities it serves. We will continue to push other transportation companies to follow its leadership."

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  1. I wonder what the “Papiere, bitte” Trump supporters have to say on this.

    1. Silence. That’s what I thought.

      1. An hour!
        Proves everything!

        Sarcasmic, get your shit together. You jump in every article and start bitching about Trump supporters. It’s neurotic as hell.

        I’m fine with Greyhound requiring warrants to search their vehicles. Their property deserves the same 4th amendment rights as anyone else. I don’t think they should get exceptions from probable cause that others don’t have though

          1. Ahahahah you got shut the fuck up ahahahajaja

        1. I didn’t vote for Trump in 2016 but will almost for certain in 2020.

          I also concur with Nardz. No warrant no search, just like the Constitution says.

        2. I dont respond to sock trolls like sarcasmic anywho.

          unreason is desperate to increase web traffic, so they bait the few remaining actual people left on this rag.

          1. I’m the troll?

            Haaaaaaaaaaaaaa ha ha ha ha ha ha!

            You don’t respond because, as many a stupid person who couldn’t understand what I was saying, you say “He’s dupid! He’s a poo-poo head!”

            Try responding to my words instead of acting like a child.

            1. So basically you woke up at 8am eastern to just bitch about anyone who has ever said a single thing in support of trump all day.

              1. I was civil on the “Against the New Nationalism” comments. That makes one of us.

                As I’ve said before, try making an argument against what I say instead of some caricature you have in your head.

              2. Maybe this will make more sense.

      2. This is why you are pathetic.

    2. I wonder what the “Papiere, bitte” Trump supporters have to say on this.

      A policy that had been enforced for years and ‘ramped up’ under the Trump administration once having been dismissed in a memo by a no-name low level bureaucrat suddenly became Trump’s fault.

      1. I didn’t see where Sarcasmic said it was Trump’s fault.

        A policy that had been enforced for years

        Do you agree with the policy?

        1. Who said sarcasmic said it?

    3. “I wonder what the “Papiere, bitte” Trump supporters have to say on this.”

      They’d probably wonder why you bother using German when it’s wrong and you sound stupid.

    4. I oppose illegal immigration, but I welcome this decision from Greyhound. The two things are not mutually exclusive.

    5. Knowingly transporting illegal aliens in the US is a crime.

      U.S. Code § 1324 – Bringing in and harboring certain aliens
      (a)(1)(A)(ii)
      https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/8/1324

      (ii)knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that an alien has come to, entered, or remains in the United States in violation of law, transports, or moves or attempts to transport or move such alien within the United States by means of transportation or otherwise, in furtherance of such violation of law;

      1. Easy: just don’t interrogate your customers if they are legal residents. I suppose CYA with a policy whereby if someone comes up and just says to the ticket-seller that they are illegal or a fugitive to not sell them a ticket.

    6. It would be nice if people other than suspected illegal migrants would always have similar 4th Amendment protection. You know, like the Constitution says.

      1. The rest of us aren’t important. Nothing is more important than some illegal. Especially the pedophile illegals, according to Chemjeff. Who is afraid to engage me anymore.

        1. sex oberösterreich is much better place to be than this

    7. I am a solid Trump supporter, but I am NOT a “tramites por favor” type either.

      I strongly OPPOSE the current ease with which UNDOCUMENTED foreig invaaders enter this country with NO right to do so.When I travel, I have my passport, visa if required, and ask for a visa or passport entry stamp to PROVE I have been granted permission to enter and move about that foriegn country. When I wanted to immigrate to another country for a season I petitioned the Consul, provided all the requested documentation, interview, medical exam, finalcials to establuish I was solvent and had a trade I could work, and was granted permissioin to enter and take up permanent residence. I had NO PROLEM with all of that. One warning they gave me before they sent the paperwork to actually immigrate was this: IF withih the first two years you are here we find out you are on public assistance of any sort, we will present you with a one way plane ticket to the city of your choice in your country of citizenship, and you will permanently be barred entry into this country.

      I said fair enough……

      All that said, I STRONGLY FAVOUR this decision from Greyhound. They ARE standing on solid Co
      nstutitonial ground, and in the right.

    8. I recently came back from Turkey to find that some low rent scrub from TSA had been in my bags. They removed some papers from another individual in my group. Then they had the audacity to leave a ticket informing me of their authority to do so, without so much as a by your leave. So if your question is in regards to whether I support the Constitution regarding illegal search and seizure, my response is slavers can piss off. Keep your hands off my stuff.

  2. That law says Border Patrol agents “shall have power without warrant…to board and search for aliens any vessel within the territorial waters of the United States and any railway car, aircraft, conveyance, or vehicle,”

    Clearly, “aliens” in this text refers specifically to sentient creatures of extraterrestrial origin, and not migrants of questionable legal status. This is what the Founders intended when they wrote the law.

    1. Well if they don’t have probable cause and the vessel is privately owned; The law probably violates the Constitution as does 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 other U.S.Codes do.

      1. “any vessel”

    2. 8 U.S. Code § 1357.Powers of immigration officers and employees
      (a)Powers without warrant
      Any officer or employee of the Service authorized under regulations prescribed by the Attorney General shall have power without warrant—
      (1)to interrogate any alien or person believed to be an alien as to his right to be or to remain in the United States;

      1. It’s called humor, Sheldon.

      2. that is fine and dandy. But there must be some articulable reason or grounds to select one individual for such iterrogation. Stopping cars and busses at random, or even all of them passing a certain point, is NOT articulable probable ause. thus is illegal. And THAT is the new realisation Greyhound have come to. Good on them.

      3. the Supreme Court rejected the government’s claim that the search was authorized by 8 USC 1357. “No Act of Congress can authorize a violation of the Constitution,”

        If only the Supreme Court worked this well on all aspects of the Constitution we’d be in great shape. U.S.C. doesn’t overwrite the Constitution but congress sure does try over, and over, and over again to.

  3. This is promising.

    Of course, “border patrol” will no longer exist next year. That’s because the Democratic President will implement the Koch / Reason agenda of unlimited, unrestricted immigration. But it’s nice to see we’re getting an early start dismantling the white nationalist police state Orange Hitler has created.

    #VoteDemocratForOpenBorders

  4. Supreme Court rejected the government’s claim that the search was authorized by 8 USC 1357. “No Act of Congress can authorize a violation of the Constitution,” it noted.

    I can hear Congress laughing all the way up here in Jersey.

    1. 8 U.S. Code § 1357.Powers of immigration officers and employees
      https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/8/1357
      (a)Powers without warrant
      Any officer or employee of the Service authorized under regulations prescribed by the Attorney General shall have power without warrant—
      (1)to interrogate any alien or person believed to be an alien as to his right to be or to remain in the United States;

    2. To be fair it’s news to me as well. Now let’s just remind them of the 10th amendment…

  5. Great.
    Now we have to jack up the TSA budget to set up “security” checkpoints at all bus stations.

  6. good. government requires paper work for anything we do with them then always require the government to provide theirs

  7. How do they get a choice? Every time I’ve driven through the, e.g., asshole Border Patrol checkpoint in Sierra Blanca, TX on I-10, I never realized I had an alternative to stopping, rolling my window down, and telling them I’m driving West or East.

    Doesn’t Greyhound have to stop too? And don’t the agents have the right to board the bus, sans warrant?

    What a ridiculous ruling Martinez-Fuertewas.

    1. 8 USC 1387 says that they can stop you “”within a reasonable distance from any external boundary of the United States” and ask for your papers. That’s what is happening here. It’s not just at border checkpoints.

      From the article, emphasis added:
      a 1973 case involving a Border Patrol car search 25 miles from the Mexican border that was conducted without probable cause or consent

      1. Martinez-Fuerte was from 1976, and kicked the distance out to 100 miles from the border. My question is, how is Greyhound able to not allow the agents to at least look in the door and talk to the driver?

        Aside, when you hear of a music act getting busted for dope or weed in Texas, odds are it’s because of a search at that checkpoint in Sierra Blanca. Off the top of my head, they’ve popped, Willie Nelson (talk about fish in a barrel), Snoop Dogg (ditto), Fiona Apple, and a bunch of others.

        If the tour bus could just tell the BP to fuck off, wouldn’t they have? Or is it more likely that BP nominally isn’t allowed to search, but RS is so easy to manufacture that they always seem to be able to find it when they want to go snooping?

        1. The tour buses are likely drug sniffing dogs, or some such probable cause nonsense.

          The Greyhound driver would presumably have to talk to the agent, but he could prohibit boarding the bus by the agent because it’s private property. It sounds like Greyhound previously complied either out of some kind of goodwill gesture to the government, or out of simply misunderstanding the law. Either way, it sounds like they are simply saying that they will no longer comply without a warrant.

        2. USBP conducts two types of traffic check operations within the 100 miles zone. One type is the internal checkpoints you refer to. The other type is the one being talked about in this article – transportation checks where Border Patrol agents hangs out at bus terminals or at bus stops along a route and boards busses to inspect passengers. For these types of traffic checking operations only, the BP now needs consent or probable cause to board.

          From the CBP memo: “When transportation checks occur on a bus at non-checkpoint locations, the agent must demonstrate that he or she gained access to the bus with the consent of the company’s owner or one of the company’s employees,”

          At internal checkpoints however, the agency is still claiming the power to individually inspect every passenger.

          If you want to see how I handle compelled stops at internal checkpoints and read about the lawsuit I currently have against the Border Patrol and local sheriff’s dept regarding these compelled stops, feel free to checkout my website:

          https://www.roadblockrevelations.org/wp

          1. So declare checkpoints at every Greyhound Bus Station.

            Easy peasy.

          2. no, there are three types of places where they have been boarding/checking busses. The stations, the established checkpoints, as found along I 10, where EVERYONE stops, and “other places where the bus is randommly stopped at any point in between. Seems Greyhound are stopping all three types…… Fedagetns should NOT be snooping about at bus stations. The checkpoints, as on I 10, are also places where theassumptiinis made that since they are within 100miles of the border that is probable cause to provoke a search.. a bogus position. And for CBP to follow a GreyHound and at random, knowing no ore than that is a Greyhound Bus rolling down the road ahead of him, and THINK he has articulable probable cause is also bogus.

            Yes, we need to keep those out who have not gone through the process to get here legally, but for CBP to randomply board bussess and raid them is NOT right.

        3. The driver is under no obligation to talk to an agent.

  8. I’m sure they’ll train their dogs to “signal” whenever they see a Greyhound bus. There’s your probable cause.

  9. They will be forced to beat and arrest the drivers for making a furtive gesture, obstruction of justice, and resisting arrest to get probable cause. Then they can seize the bus in a civil forfeiture and make all the potential illegals get off the Border Patrol’s bus so they can be questioned at the side of the road and sent to the appropriate concentration camp.

    1. Even the US Border Patrol doesn’t have the guts to try civil asset forfeiture on a company the size of Greyhound. They don’t want the kind of press that would bring.

  10. Reason generally loves “public-private partnerships”. Good to see they finally found one they don’t like.

    1. They’ve been pretty critical of private prisons, no?

    2. orange mag bad

    3. Are we reading the same stuff? Reason usually points out the public-private partnerships are cronyism.

    4. Is this one, though? Amtrak is, but AFAICT, Greyhound is still fully private.

      Unless you’re referring to Greyhound’s access to publicly owned bus stations?

  11. It’s about time! 35 years ago when I was still using Greyhound they were doing this. Stopping fifty miles NORTH of the border, in Southern California, and asking everyone with brown skill to show their papers please. Once there was a Canadian sitting next to me, never had to show his papers because he was pale skinned.

    This is in Southern California. Where half legal population has brown skin. Where the oldest families predate the admission of the state into the union. And have brown skin. Some brown skinned families older than the United States itself. But they’re the ones who have to show their papers please.

    Don’t believe the spin. Immigration controls are about race, have always been about race.

    1. “Don’t believe the spin. Immigration controls are about race, have always been about race.”

      Of course, you are right. But you don’t have to look very far to see a bunch of racists hiding behind the thinnest of veils: laws. To them, a toddler being carried across an imaginary line has committed a crime, therefore that toddler can be isolated in a cage with a concrete floor, never to be returned to their parents.

      Never mind that that treatment would be unthinkable against fellow wHites (pronounce the H, please), rules are rules. Even if Trump put some of those rules into place and had some memos leaked that said they changed those rules in order to inflict purposeful cruelty on children, “rules are rules, we’re not rayciss.”

      1. Which race.

        It’s your point. Try to make it.

      2. don’t worry CPS has white people covered for steeling children so they can sell them to the highest bidding gay couple or for sending them to experimental drug testing.

    2. You know you can’t ever be forced to show ID in the USA, right?

      If you committed a crime, law enforcement will arrest you and you can work out your identity at that time.

      I dont stop at DUI checkpoints unless a car is blocking me and I sure as shit dont talk to any law enforcement unless I am under arrest and then it’s to only ask for a lawyer and that I plead the Fif.

      1. 1, 2, 3, 4, FIF.

    3. “This is in Southern California. Where half legal population has brown skin”

      We get it, it is very sunny in SoCal, but what does that have to do with the descendants of white Europeans?

      ” Immigration controls are about race”

      Which race? Brown? That’s not a race. Hispanic? That isn’t either, and Spain is white.

      Anything else I can make you look stupid for thinking?

      1. I live 90 miles from the border. My wife is latina. I travel to mexico with her or other mexican friends often. Nobody has ever been harassed at the border. But the myth lives on.

    4. “Immigration controls are about race, have always been about race.”

      Yeah, when the government is hunting down the Aryan Nation, it should pull over 90 year old Korean women, because otherwise it would be racial profiling, and we know that’s a no no.

    5. More like they’re playing the percentages.

    6. “Immigration controls are about race, have always been about race.” — CLAIMS the racist.

      1. …. And a “wealthy” person who just ran out of a robbed bank with a bag full of cash and got arrested is due to nothing else except “Wealth Discrimination”….

  12. Carla Provost needs to be shot as the traitorous dog she is – no God-fearing, law-abiding, red-blooded patriotic American would question the idea that the needs of law enforcement outweigh a temporary inconveniencing of a handful of illegal immigrants, drug smugglers, sex traffickers, terrorists and escaped convicts aboard Greyhound buses. Why should we respect the so-called “rights” of criminals to due process, warrants, probable cause and all that other nonsense when they certainly don’t respect our rights as American citizens? I say we boycott Greyhound until they agree to roadside cavity searches of all their criminal passengers and stop hiding behind the Constitution – our forefathers died for that Constitution and those rights and they’re disrespecting that sacrifice by refusing to waive their rights.

    1. It’s really not a big deal to respect the Constitution. Having “reason” to search job-sites, public rest-areas, pickup points shouldn’t be all that difficult to establish.

    2. NO ONE is disrespecting that Constitution, only wanting to make that the Supreme Law of the Land, together with all laws enacted PERSUANT THERETO.

      Rembmer what the COlonials suffered at the hands of the Brit tyrants in the run-up to the War for Independence. ANY British soldier or officer had the “right’ to enter anyone’s home or business or conveyance, demand to inspect, no warrant or probable cause necessary, take whatever they wish, give no receipt, no pathway for redress of rhe theft, arrest them at will, detain them indefinitely, “transport” them to England for a trial where they would have no counsel could not present witnesses in his defence (they were all the other side the puddle and the trial is next week) nor examine government witnesses against him. Your mere presence in the colony was cause enough to detain search, arrest, charge, take at will. THAT situation is WHY our wise FOunders wrote the Bill of Rights, which says NO ONE can be searched without articulable probable cause, or a warrant, or permission granted by the target of the search..
      Greyhound busses are NOT public property, the people aboard them are NOT exhibiting probable cause for a search by virtue of their brown bodies being inside the big blue tin can.

      et CBP find them elsewhere and elsewise. Harrassing everyone aboard those busses is a violation of the Supreme Law of the Land. Same with people in private passenger cars.

  13. So agents were already barred from entering buses, and this is all just virtue signaling by Greyhound. What’s next — they’re only going to have routes between sanctuary cities so the illegal aliens (oh no, I said it!) can’t be arrested once they get off the bus?

    This comment not approved by Silicon Valley brain slugs.

    1. “sanctuary cities” should be the first ones to be stormed… THEY ARE ILLEGALLY committing a crime.

      1. “ sanctuary cities” should be the first ones to be stormed…”

        You need more Stoßtruppen for that.

    2. No, they weren’t barred from entering buses. Greyhound used to let them on.

      1. Which would be a problem you have with Greyhound, not border agents.

  14. Once the 14th amendment finally reverts back to it’s originally intended meaning, there will be no need for warrants when rounding up criminal aliens.

    1. Birthright citizenship *is* the biggest problem.

      1. Look at it this way; If the Supreme Court would’ve done their job after DACA was signed – We wouldn’t be in the mess we’re in today.

        It’s a two wrongs don’t make a right scenario and giving congress the power to search and harass anyone they please without any justification (doesn’t need to be a “warrant” just demonstrate-able reasonable cause) isn’t the kind of country I want to live in.

  15. For all the anti-fascist socialists hyperventilating with praise over this, I want to point out — it’s not Amtrak who’s making this stand. This is why libertarians want the private sector to do things.

  16. The memo obtained by the AP was dated Jan. 28, addressed to all chief patrol agents and signed by then-Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost just before she retired. It confirms the legal position that Greyhound’s critics have taken: that the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment prevents agents from boarding buses and questioning passengers without a warrant or the consent of the company.

    Carla Provost was put in this position by Mark A. Morgan who Worked in the CBP under Obama, resigned in Jan 2017, and was nominated by Trump to head the CBP.

    Now if the government will end the practice of unconstitutional drivers license and DUI checkpoints, we will have something.

  17. ARREST THEM FOR AIDING AND ABETTING.

    1. Probably should be one way to handle it so long as they have “reason” to search and can demonstrate “intent”.

  18. Thank goodness. We need to back off from being so casually comfortable with violating the 4th Amendment.

  19. So they need ‘permission’ before boarding and searching.
    Big deal.
    How many times will it take a stop for a safety check under ICC rules that throws the schedule off before (most likely) briefer stops to check papers resume with full permission of the company?

    1. I don’t think The Border Patrol is allowed to do vehicle safety checks.

      1. Never said it would be the border patrol. The guys breaking legs are never the ones suggesting buying protection.

    2. ICC rules don’t trump the Constitution either. THOSE sweeps are illegal as well. I’ve been caught up in them they are against the law of the land. But no one’s had the stuff to stand up and fight back. One day someone will.. then that little money mill will get a big wrench thrown into the gears. Random stops/checs for anything are wrong. If the copper can’t see a specific thing wrong (bald tyre, lamp not working, hears air hissing, overheight or weight) they have no real right to stop them, because no probable cause. They’ve been getting off with it for so long everyoine THINKS it is legal.

      1. Just as legal as a DUI checkpoint.
        Somehow suspecting EVERYBODY without probable cause is OK.

  20. Maybe the federal government will start enforcing the law against knowingly transporting illegal aliens.

    U.S. Code § 1324 – Bringing in and harboring certain aliens
    (a)(1)(A)(ii)
    https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/8/1324
    (ii)knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that an alien has come to, entered, or remains in the United States in violation of law, transports, or moves or attempts to transport or move such alien within the United States by means of transportation or otherwise, in furtherance of such violation of law;

    1. That law I could get behind 🙂 and within 25-miles of the border purposely not using valid I.D. to board a bus could be considered “reckless disregard”.

  21. Well well.. while Greyhound are getting all constitutional and such (and I really am glad they are) perhaps they could extend their quest a bit further, and get ALL these middle of nowhere checkpints banned. If they are illegal for busses, they are for my car, too. And all tose over the road trucks, as well. Travelling/operating on I 10 is NOT probable cause for a search.

    Now, once they get that one tamed how’s about they turn to one of their own policies that really stinks, though most folks ignore it with no conesequences.
    Greyhound prohibit the carrying of firearms, even in checked baggage. Tus their policy would disarm me if I travelled. for the entire trip, wherever I am gind. If airlines can legally check handguns in checked baggage, so can greyhound, Or just remove the no guns at all policy, rather quietly We who pay attention will learn of it and make use of it. No one will know. Once they are in the baggage lockers, no one but Greyhound staff and myself will ever know, and even if Charlie DID overhear, he’d not be able to do anything . How would he know WHICH suitcase to steal? Of course, allowing concealed carry by those lawfully able to go about armd wherever we go would be even better. I did read of an armed incident involving some Greyhound bus passengers not long ago……. no one aboard to shoot back. Bad scenario

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  24. A policy memo (written by an Acting Chief of the BP as she was going out the door to retire) does not override 8 USC 1357 with regard to common carriers which has been upheld by the Supreme Court, including the term “reasonable distance” defined as 100 miles in the enabling CFR – also upheld by SCOTUS.

    It’s just a policy memo … the Trump administration can revoke it overnight if they so choose. Greyhound could sue … but they’d lose. Particularly with THIS Supreme Court. Trump, DHS, and CBP may not choose to pick the fight though, particularly in an election year. There’s other ways to combat Greyhound’s popularity among recent illegal border crossers.

    And for all you armchair constitutional and immigration law scholars: not the subject of this particular controversy, but there’s also a SCOTUS upheld 25 mile limit for stopping vehicles travelling down the road with somewhat less than “probable cause” — and for entering onto private lands without a warrant (but not buildings) known as the “open fields” doctrine.

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