Immigration lawyers and others have reported an increase in the number of undocumented immigrants being caught on Greyhound Buses and on Amtrak trains by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents.
Border Patrol searches involving public transportation is the latest attempt to identify immigrants who may be in the United States illegally. To date, the searches have not been well publicized but, according to some, have been effective. The searches are most common in Florida, but other states could soon start seeing more of them as well.
A spokesperson for U.S. Customs and Border Protection said the agents are legally allowed to run immigration checks on individuals in public places including buses and trains. The program as originally designed to limit smuggling operations into the interior of the country.
Citing concerns about law enforcement security, Border Patrol officials have declined to offer statistics concerning the number of those identified as being undocumented immigrants caught in the immigration checks of buses and trains.
One Florida immigration attorney said that approximately 20 percent of the firm's clients have come as the result of Border Patrol checks of Greyhound buses which is much more than they usually see.
The lawyer also reported a 25 percent increase over the past two years in clients seeking representation resulting from the immigration crack down.
A spokesperson for Greyhound told a Florida reporter through an email that the company does work with officials from the U.S. Border Patrol, but said they are not specifically aware when agents will be checking stations until they arrive on the premises and identify themselves.
An Amtrak spokesperson also said that the rail company has a relationship with federal law enforcement agencies and cooperates with all federal, state and local authorities.
Now is the time to become a documented immigrant in the United States if you have not already. If it is too late and you've already been cited for being an undocumented immigrant, contact an immigration lawyer in your state for advice.
Source: UPI.com, "Border officials target trains, buses," Aug. 15, 2011.