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Ari Schechter, ACLU of New Hampshire, (603) 227-6679

Rachel Healy, ACLU of Maine, (207) 774-5444x2

S. Beth Nolan, ACLU of Vermont, (802) 223-6304x111

February 20, 2020

New CBP Memo Makes Clear Agents Need Consent to Board Buses

 Concord, N.H. – The ACLU affiliates in New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont today called on Concord Coach to revise its policy regarding immigration raids on its buses, in light of recently released guidance from Customs and Border Protection (CBP). 

The ACLU has long called for bus companies to refuse consent for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents to engage in warrantless searches of bus passengers. The ACLU argues these searches subject passengers to racial profiling and invasions of privacy.

Bus companies including Concord have so far argued that they do not have the authority to refuse consent to Border Patrol agents. However, a new memo from CBP obtained by the Associated Press confirms the ACLU’s position that bus companies “do not have to allow Border Patrol agents on board to conduct routine checks for immigrants[.]”

Citing the memo, the ACLU sent another letter to Concord, again asking the company to refuse consent for these warrantless searches and to issue a public statement making clear the company will do so.

The ACLU’s letter to Concord is here:https://www.aclumaine.org/sites/default/files/letter_to_concord_coach_lines_2.20.2020.pdf

The following quotes can be attributed as noted.

Emma Bond, staff attorney, ACLU of Maine:

“Customs and Border Protection has just confirmed what we have been saying all along: bus companies have the authority to deny immigration agents access to their buses without a warrant. Now it’s up to companies like Concord to do the right thing and protect the rights of their customers. If Concord continues to allow agents unfettered access to their passengers, it will be complicit in this oppressive government overreach.”

SangYeob Kim, immigration staff attorney at the ACLU of New Hampshire: 

“Concord Coach should do the right thing and protect their bus passengers from warrantless searches by the government. CBP has made clear that bus companies can refuse consent and disallow CBP agents to board, and Concord Coach should make this clear in their policy moving forward.” 

Jay Diaz, staff attorney, ACLU of Vermont:

“Allowing Border Patrol agents on Concord Coach buses facilitates discrimination, and needlessly jeopardizes people’s civil liberties. It’s now clear that if Concord Bus continues this practice, it's because they are choosing to do so.”

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