Don’t Get On the Bus: ICE Raids Greyhound and Amtrak

By Seth Freed Wessler Apr 04, 2008

If you’re an immigrant, or look like you could be one, you might think twice before buying an Amtrak or Greyhound ticket in Upstate New York. The two companies are collaborating with ICE, allowing officials onto their busses and trains without notifying riders before they purchase tickets. Passengers have reported that officers profile Latinos and have taken families with children off buses, sending some riders to detention and into deportation proceedings. In New York City this week, families and immigrants rights activists gathered outside of Penn Station and marched to Port Authority to protest the practice. The protest was organized by Families for Freedom, a multi-racial organization defending immigrants against deportation. The protest highlighted that the practice denies immigrants fundamental rights. While ICE claims to be carrying out border patrol, the buses and trains are not crossing the border but traveling within the United States, effectively “bringing the border to you.” The transportation raids are a prime example of what Roberto Lovato recently described as the use of “immigrants to build up government policing and military capabilities (that) is, in fact, a standard practice of the art of statecraft.” The transportation raids move this project forward, denying immigrants fundamental rights: freedom of movement and travel guaranteed by article 4; equal protection, enshrined by the 14th amendment, by racially profiling immigrant passengers; and, 1st amendment freedom of assembly. The buttressing of state power is achieved more and more through the denial of immigrant’s basic rights as they are made the centerpiece of enforcement policies. Needless to say, hitchhiking might just be safest way to get around these days.