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Politics

Advocates Call On Bus Company To Refuse Border Patrol Checks Without Probable Cause

Civil rights advocates are calling on Concord Coachlines to stop allowing Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agents to screen and question passengers without probable cause.

"We sent a letter to Concord demanding that they make clear that they will refuse consent, yet Concord has recently said that it will continue to allow border patrol to engage in these bus raids." ACLU of Maine staff attorney, Emma Bond, says the recent emergence of an internal CBP memo referring to such checks as voluntary makes it clear that bus companies don't have to comply.

"They expose passengers to racial profiling, to invasions of their privacy, and it's anathema to basic constitutional protections that do require law enforcement to have a warrant or some suspicion for searching passengers."

ACLU offices in Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire sent a letter this week urging the company to cease cooperating with the checks. Bond says Concord Coachlines has recently indicated it does not plan to change its policy.

Concord Coachlines responded in an emailed statement that other modes of travel require safety and ID checks, and that "some degree of police presence" is a matter of public safety. They say they fully post information to keep travelers informed of the policy. The email goes on to say that drivers should not be put in the position of having to interpret law enforcement actions.

Bond says the ACLU will "consider its options."