Customs and Border Protection refuted what the agency called a “false Facebook post” connected to an ACLU call for advocacy regarding an alleged check of bus passengers June 7 in Yuma, Ariz.
ACLU wrote about Tiana Smalls’ allegations after she posted her story on Facebook. Smalls was riding a Greyhound from Bakersfield, Calif., to Las Vegas, Nev., when the bus stopped at the Nevada state line agricultural checkpoint.
The bus driver announced that Border Patrol would be boarding. ACLU reported that Smalls, as described on her Facebook post, said “this is a violation of your Fourth Amendment rights; you don’t have to show them s**t” to the other passengers. She translated the message in Spanish as well.
As the border agents climbed onto the bus and asked for documentation, Smalls said she stood up and repeated, “You have no right to ask me for anything. This is harassment and racial profiling. We are not within 100 miles of a border so [these agents] have no legal right or jurisdiction here.” She said Border Patrol retreated and left the bus.
The ACLU lauded her “simple and courageous act of resistance” and said CBP couldn’t make such a “power grab.”
“In a recent letter to Greyhound’s general counsel, the ACLU explained that Greyhound is not obligated to consent to the Border Patrol’s warrantless and unjustified raids on its buses,” the civil liberties group said.
In a statement, CBP said both El Centro and Yuma sectors confirmed that no border operations were conducted in that area. They also said that fabricated posts push false and incorrect information, interfering with the Border Patrol’s mission.
“Yuma Sector Border Patrol agents take their sworn duties to uphold the Constitution and the laws of the United States very seriously,” said Yuma Sector Acting Chief Patrol Agent Carl Landrum. “Stories like this that attempt to pit us against our community need to be fact-checked before they are printed as truth. The Yuma Sector Border Patrol will continue to perform our mission, day in and day out, ensuring the safety of our agents, citizens and communities.”
Landrum continued, “Protecting our sovereignty is key in our border security mission – border security is national security.”
CBP noted that transportation hubs “are used by alien smuggling and drug trafficking organizations to move people, narcotics, and contraband to interior destinations throughout the country.”
“To combat these growing threats, the U.S. Border Patrol has increased the frequency of transportation checks around the country as an additional enforcement mechanism to reinforce CBP’s world-class approach to border security.”