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Immigration Law

Greyhound Must Stop Allowing Warrantless Immigration Sweeps, Pay $2.2M

Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson, Sept. 27, 2021

"Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced today that Greyhound Lines Inc. will pay $2.2 million to resolve his lawsuit over the bus line’s practice of allowing U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) agents on its buses to conduct warrantless and suspicionless immigration sweeps when it didn’t have to. Greyhound failed to warn customers of the sweeps, misrepresented its role in allowing the sweeps to occur and subjected its passengers to discrimination based on race, skin color or national origin.

Ferguson will use the payment to provide restitution to those passengers who were detained, arrested, or deported after immigration agents boarded their bus at the Spokane Intermodal Center, and for partial reimbursement of his office’s litigation costs. The amount of restitution each individual receives will depend on the number of claims and the severity of harms suffered due to Greyhound’s conduct.

The consent decree, filed in Spokane County Superior Court on the eve of trial, requires Greyhound to enact a number of corporate reforms to end its unlawful conduct. For example, Greyhound must create a clear corporate policy denying CBP agents permission to board its buses in Washington without warrants or reasonable suspicion. The national bus line must also train its drivers and other employees on how to communicate that policy to CBP agents.

“My office first insisted that Greyhound make these corporate reforms in 2019,” Ferguson said. “If Greyhound had simply accepted our reasonable demand, they would have avoided a lawsuit. Now, on the eve of trial, Greyhound’s evasion has come to an end, and now it must pay $2 million for the harm it caused Washingtonians. Greyhound has an obligation to its customers — an obligation it cannot set aside so immigration agents can go on fishing expeditions aboard its buses.”

In addition to paying $2.2 million, Greyhound is also required to:

  • Create a clear corporate policy that denies CBP agents permission to board its buses without warrants or reasonable suspicion in the State of Washington
  • Provide training for its drivers and employees on how to communicate its corporate policy to CBP agents
  • Issue a public statement, at minimum in English and Spanish, clarifying that Greyhound does not consent to immigration agents boarding its buses without a warrant or reasonable suspicion. It must put this statement on its website and communicate it to federal immigration law enforcement agencies and the City of Spokane, which owns the Intermodal Center
  • Place stickers on or near the front door of its buses stating that it does not consent to immigration agents boarding its buses without a warrant or reasonable suspicion
  • Provide placards for its drivers to give to immigration agents stating that Greyhound does not consent to immigration agents boarding its buses to conduct warrantless or suspicionless searches
  • Provide and display adequate notice to its customers of the risks of warrantless and suspicionless searches in the State of Washington wherever it sells bus tickets
  • Implement a complaint procedure for passengers who want to complain about the presence of immigration agents on Greyhound buses or at Greyhound bus stations, and notify the Attorney General’s Office of any such complaints received
  • Provide semi-annual reports to the Attorney General’s Office, including reporting whether immigration agents have boarded Greyhound buses in the State of Washington"