Agents from U.S. Customs and Border Protection reportedly are stepping up checks for undocumented immigrants on Greyhound buses and Amtrak trains. The ID checks reportedly have not received due attention in the public media, until now. The Miami Herald reports a 19-year-old woman, bound for South Florida, was detained after border patrol agents boarded her Greyhound bus in Pompano Beach.
The woman says she looked up to see an agent making a bee-line for her seat near the back of the bus. "It kind of looked like they already knew who they were looking for, because they went straight to the back where I was," she says. She thought for sure she was being deported.
After the encounter, border agents detained her and she was held for 76 days in a federal immigration center, Broward Transitional Center. The young woman has been in this country since her parents brought her here when she was 10. She has no criminal record. The young woman is currently enrolled in a beauty school in Little Havana.
Border agents are primarily expected to be found along the coast or at the border. However, Steve Cribby, a spokesperson for the border patrol says agents have the authority to conduct immigration status checks in any public place.
Cribby says the border patrol looks at public transportation entities, such as Amtrak and greyhound in order to disrupt alleged human smuggling activities in the states. Authorities say overall roughly 2,900 undocumented immigrants were arrested in Florida between October 2010 and May 2011.
A number of those arrestees were seized on transportation services like Amtrak and greyhound. A spokesperson for Amtrak says the train company "works closely and cooperates with all federal, state and local agencies." Others were arrested in a variety of contexts, including traffic stops and other law enforcement investigations.
Source: Miami Herald, "Undocumented immigrants face checks on Amtrak, Greyhound," Sarah Gonzalez Aug. 14, 2011