Immigrant rights advocates are threatening to call for a nationwide boycott of Greyhound Lines, Inc. if the bus company continues to allow the Border Patrol to conduct immigration checks of riders. The activists allege that Greyhound “closely cooperates with the U.S. Border Patrol to target Latino riders.” Border Patrol officials started ramping up “surprise inspections” on domestic trains, buses and ferries back in 2008. Though the agency denies racial profiling allegations, witnesses’ testimonies suggest otherwise.
Emilio Amaya, executive director of the San Bernardino Community Services Center points out that such practices also make for bad business:
“Private businesses have the right to ask Border Patrol agents not to conduct operations on their property…if these transportation companies do not take measures to protect their passengers, who are being faced with racial profiling and deportation on the way to visit family for the holidays, they will lose the trust and business of one of their most faithful customer bases, the Latino community.”
Greyhound spokeswoman Abby Wambaugh defended the inspections in 2008 stating that “Greyhound is under no obligation to inform customers of law-enforcement activities at any time.” Now, Greyhound is claiming that the accusations are news to them:
“Greyhound only recently became aware of these practices. We plan on reaching out to (immigration) officials for further information. Greyhound seeks to balance the lawful and reasonable activities of law enforcement with the dignity and privacy of our valued customers.”
Curiously, this isn’t the first time Greyhound has invited claims of discrimination. Back in 2005, the company had a “Transportation of Illegal Aliens” policy warning employees that they could be arrested or fired for selling bus tickets to anyone they knew or believed was an undocumented immigrant. At the time, Greyhound spokeswoman Kim Plaskett denied the policy was discriminatory and insisted that employees are trained not to engage in racial profiling.