A video of border patrol officers boarding a bus in Fort Lauderdale and removing a woman whose visa expired has sparked an outcry from immigration activists.
Border agents detained the woman on a Greyhound bus about 4:30 p.m. Friday after asking passengers for their identification, according to the Florida Immigrant Coalition, an activist organization that posted the video Saturday.
Some passengers on the bus, headed from Orlando to Miami, were surprised by the agents. They took out their cellphones to record it on video. “This is new?” one passenger asked. “I’m offended,” another said.
The footage, viewed more than 2.3 million times on Twitter, comes amid a crackdown on illegal immigration under President Donald Trump.
.@CustomsBorder got on a Greyhound bus yesterday at 4:30pm in Fort Lauderdale and asked every passenger for their papers and to prove citizenship. Proof of citizenship is NOT required to ride a bus! For more information about your rights, call our hotline👉 1-888-600-5762 pic.twitter.com/rWJn61o8VP
— Florida Immigrant Coalition (@FLImmigrant) January 20, 2018
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Miami office reported taking more than 6,000 people into custody over the past year across Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. That’s up from 3,524 the prior year, according to agency figures.
While proponents of the crackdown said the officers who detained the woman did a good job of enforcing the law, immigration activists said riders shouldn’t have to face questions about their citizenship to ride the bus.
“Agencies like [U.S. Customs and Border Protection] are damaging the trust between community and law enforcement,” the Florida Immigrant Coalition wrote.
Immigration agents descended on five South Florida 7-Eleven stores Wednesday to interview workers and review records as part of what officials described as the largest operation against an employer under Donald Trump’s presidency.
Border Patrol confirmed that agents conducted the immigration inspection at the bus station Friday. They arrested the woman on the bus after determining she overstayed her tourist visa, according to the Miami Herald, which cited a statement from the agency.
The woman, reportedly from Jamaica, was taken to a Border Patrol station, where she was turned over to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement for removal proceedings.
The coalition said its members were in touch with the woman’s family, but didn’t release the woman’s name. The group said the woman was dropped off at a station by her daughter-in-law in the morning, and the family didn’t hear from her afterward.
Greyhound responded to social media posts about the Fort Lauderdale stop.
“This situation is currently being investigated by our team, however we have no choice but to comply with all government affiliated personnel,” the Greyhound’s customer service Twitter account posted. “This is not something that was initiated by any member of Greyhound.”
Federal law states that Border Patrol officials can, without a warrant, “board and search for aliens in any vessel within the territorial waters of the United States and any railcar, aircraft, conveyance, or vehicle.”
The agency’s jurisdiction spans 100 miles from U.S. borders, the law states.
In Florida, that encompasses the entire state.
Along with the ICE, border patrol agents are tasked with enforcing immigration policies.
This is at least the second enforcement effort by immigration agents to draw public attention in recent weeks in South Florida.
ICE agents raided five 7-Eleven stores in South Florida earlier this month as part of a nationwide sweep.
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