Family members of a woman hope to get more insight from federal authorities after cell phone video appears to show her being removed by immigration officers from a bus in South Florida.
Cell phone video shot by a fellow passenger, according to the Florida Immigration Coalition, showed the woman of Caribbean descent being told to leave her belongings before being taken off a Greyhound bus in Fort Lauderdale on Friday by U.S. Border Patrol officers.
According to witnesses, the bus driver said security was coming on to do a routine check. Shortly after, immigration officials boarded the bus and reportedly demanded everyone show proof of citizenship.
"We are required to comply with all local, state and federal laws and cooperate with the relevant enforcement agencies if they ask to board our buses or enter stations. Unfortunately, even routine transportation checks negatively impact our operations and some customers directly," Greyhound said in a statement Monday. "We encourage anyone with concerns about what happened to reach out directly to these agencies. Greyhound will also reach out to the agencies to see if there is anything we can do on our end to minimize any negative effect of this process."
Border Patrol officials released a statement saying that, while performing individual inspections, agents determined the woman was residing in the United States without the proper status.
"Incidents like these erode public trust in police and authority figures whose job is to serve and protect our communities," said FLIC membership director Isabel Sousa-Rodriguez. "Without an official judicial warrant, border patrol agents should not be permitted to board the private property of the Greyhound corporation to harass its customers and violate their civil liberties."
The woman was transported to the Border Patrol station in Dania Beach. Her family in Jamaica told the FLIC they haven't heard from her since the incident.
Under federal law, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents may search any vessel, aircraft or vehicle within 100 miles of any border for undocumented immigrants – a distance which includes the entire state of Florida.
"Border Patrol agents routinely conduct law enforcement activities at transportation hubs to prevent illegal aliens and drugs from traveling further into the United States," the statement read. "Enforcement operations at transportation hubs serve as a vital component of the U.S. Border Patrol’s security efforts."