CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE (AP) — Concord Coach Lines is the latest company in the United States (US) to announce it will no longer allow immigration officers onto buses unless they have a warrant. The New Hampshire company’s decision last Friday follows an announcement by Greyhound that it will no longer allow warrantless immigration checks on its buses.
The Associated Press (AP) obtained a memo from Customs and Border Protection that said agents can’t board private buses without the consent of the bus company.
Concord Coach Lines Vice President Benjamin Blunt said the company wanted to be sure it understood the policy implications before making a decision.
Employees are now equipped with cards that will communicate the policy to Border Patrol agents, he said.
“The safety of our passengers is not something that we take lightly. We have understood the arguments for making this change, but have worked to fully understand the implications that a change would have on law enforcement’s ability to prevent all forms of criminal behaviour. We are confident that this is the right thing to do,” he said.
The American Civil Liberties Union has been pushing for bus companies to deny searches for fear that people of colour or people with foreign accents will be singled out.
“With this new policy, Concord Coach is doing the right thing and disallowing Border Patrol from conducting warrantless searches of their passengers,” Immigration Staff Attorney at the ACLU of New Hampshire SangYeob Kim.
The company operates from New Hampshire and Maine, providing transportation to Boston and New York City.