Greyhound Lines Inc. has agreed to pay $ 2.2 million in a settlement for a lawsuit that says the company allowed U.S. Customs & Border Protections workers to run free immigration sweeps on its buses in the state of Washington , the state attorney general said Monday. Attorney Bob Ferguson said Greyhound did not warn customers about the immigration sweep, the wrong role of allowing agents to conduct sweeps and facilitated discrimination of its passengers based on their skin color or nationality. origin.
The $ 2.2 million settlement fund will serve as payment for Greyhound customers who have been detained, arrested or even deported after the company was allowed to ride buses at the Spokane Intermodal Center, the AP reported. The amount given to each affected customer will vary based on the number of claims and accrual damage caused by Greyhound’s actions, Ferguson said.
“Greyhound has an obligation to its customers – an obligation it can’t keep so immigration agents can go on fishing expeditions aboard its buses,” Ferguson said in a statement.
For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below:
Greyhound, based in Dallas, released a brief statement saying it was pleased with the settlement.
“By agreeing to the permit, we will more widely inform our customers of the policies and procedures we already have to serve the citizens of Washington state,” the bus company said.
The settlement was filed in Spokane County Superior Court on Monday, the day the trial was set.
“My office first insisted that Greyhound make these corporate reforms in 2019,” Ferguson said. “If Greyhound had only accepted our reasonable request, they could have avoided a lawsuit.”
Under the settlement, Greyhound is also required to:
—Create a corporate policy that denies CBP agents permission to ride its buses in Washington state without warrants or reasonable suspicion.
—Issuing a public statement, in English and Spanish, clarifying that Greyhound did not allow immigration agents to board its buses without a warrant or reasonable suspicion.
—Put stickers on or near the doors of its buses stating that it does not allow immigration agents to board its buses without a warrant or reasonable suspicion.
The lawsuit was filed in April 2020, alleging that Greyhound has allowed sweeping aboard its buses since 2013. Greyhound publicly recognized the practice in 2018.
During the sweep, Hispanic people and other passengers of color were subjected to invasive interrogation by armed federal agents and often asked to get off the bus, Ferguson said. Sometimes CBP agents detain or arrest passengers, he said.
For years, Greyhound argued that the law required it to allow Border Patrol agents to ride its buses. But in February 2020, a memo since then U.S. Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost confirmed Ferguson’s argument that CBP agents could only conduct free immigration on board buses with the owner’s permission. or company employee.