Broward County

Border Patrol agents taking people off buses is common. It happened again this week.

Another immigrant taken into custody at a bus stop in Fort Lauderdale

Agents from the Office of Customs and Border Protection detained another immigrant during a check carried out at a Greyhound bus stop in Fort Lauderdale.
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Agents from the Office of Customs and Border Protection detained another immigrant during a check carried out at a Greyhound bus stop in Fort Lauderdale.

For the second time in two weeks, a Florida Immigrant Coalition video shows U.S. Border Patrol agents taking someone into custody off a Greyhound bus at the Fort Lauderdale station.

According to a WSVN-Channel 7 report, the man in the overhead-shot video is Andrew Anderson, a 12-year Miami resident and Miami Beach business owner from Trinidad, and he’s being held at U.S. ICE’s Broward Transitional Center after not being able to prove citizenship.

Checking buses long has been everyday practice for U.S. Customs and Border agents. What hasn’t been common: the checks being captured on video and posted online during a heated time for the immigration issue.

Section 1357 of Title 8 of the United States Code says immigration officers can, without warrant, “interrogate any alien or person believed to be an alien as to his right to be or to remain in the United States.”

The Immigration and Nationality Act 287(a)(3) and CFR 287 (a)(3) similarly state that Immigration Officers, without a warrant, may “within a reasonable distance from any external boundary of the United States...board and search for aliens in any vessel within the territorial waters of the United States and any railcar, aircraft, conveyance, or vehicle.”

“Reasonable distance” is defined by 8 CFR 287 (a)(1) as 100 air miles from the border. That covers the entire state of Florida.

In the wake of the Jan. 19 video showing Customs and Border Protection agents boarding a Greyhound bus at the Fort Lauderdale station to ask for citizenship proof from passengers, Greyhound stated “We are required to comply with all local, state and federal laws and cooperate with the relevant enforcement agencies if they ask to board our buses or enter stations.”

On Friday, January 19, 2018, U.S. border patrol officials boarded a Greyhound bus in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and demanded proof of citizenship from every passenger.

On Friday, seven House of Representatives members from Florida and 12 from other states/territories issued a joint statement that they were “appalled” by the Jan. 19 video, which ended with agents leaving the bus with a Jamaican woman visiting her granddaughter. U.S. Border Patrol’s Miami Sector Office said she overstayed her tourist visa.

The statement called actions on the video an “abuse of mandate and authority” and concluded:

“While the law gives U.S. CBP officials the authority to conduct transportation checks within a reasonable distance from the border, this event and others like it across the country show that Congress must conduct a comprehensive review of what ‘reasonable distance’ means. The 100-mile border zone established by U.S. regulations arbitrarily extends CBP jurisdiction and undercuts the rights for citizens and legal residents to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. In Florida, this arbitrary zone puts everyone in the state under constant threat of stops, interrogations, and searches without even the most basic due process protections.”

All seven congressmen/congresswomen from Florida — Ted Deutch, Alcee Hastings, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Frederica Wilson, Al Lawson, Kathy Castor and Darren Soto — are Democrats. Among the other 12 were Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chairwoman Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM), Congressional Caribbean Caucus Co-Chairs Yvette D. Clarke (D-NY) and Stacey E. Plaskett (D-U.S. Virgin Islands) and House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jerrold Nadler (D-NY).

David J. Neal: 305-376-3559, @DavidJNeal

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