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  • Writer's pictureJosey Goggin


On February 22, 2020, after two years of pressure, Greyhound finally took a stand against ICE searches on its buses.

In late January of 2018, passengers on a Greyhound bus in Florida recorded ICE agents boarding a bus, questioning passengers, and taking one into custody. It was not the first time such a search had occurred on a Greyhound bus, but the ramping up of the searches under the Trump administration and capturing the intrusion on video thrust the practice into the limelight.

Greyhound did nothing to protect its customers.

But the publicity educated the public on their rights. So, a couple months later, in June 2018, when her bus driver announced Border Patrol would be searching the bus, Tiana Smalls, stood up and said “This is a violation of your Fourth Amendment rights. You don’t have to show them *shit*!!!”[2] When the officers boarded, she repeated her message and the officers retreated. The bus then continued its journey.

Nothing changed in Greyhound's official policy.

In New York City, Buffalo, and Atlanta, activists rallied[4] around speakers[5], and passed out leaflets to passengers and bus drivers inside[6]. In Philadelphia, protesters picketed[7] and spoke to passersbys[8]. In Durham, N.C. activists refused to disperse[9] when pressured to do so by Greyhound Security. In Houston, the activists convinced a passenger to execute an action of her own when, outraged by Greyhound’s policy, she decided to go across the street to a competitor[10] to travel.

Still Greyhound stood by their stance they had no choice but to allow federal officials onboard their buses.

But on February 14, 2020, an internal Customs and Border Protection memo was obtained by the Associated Press. It confirmed bus companies like Greyhound do not have to allow routine checks for undocumented immigrants.

One week later, Greyhound announced they would no longer allow such searches on their buses or anywhere one is required to have a ticket in their facilities.[11] In so doing, they began their own nonviolent actions against the government, posting signs[12] that clearly state the new policy, while refusing to assist enforcement agents[13].

That it took so long for Greyhound to come around to what seems obvious to many of us is disappointing. But the variety of tactics activists and employees deployed in their campaign to keep pressure on the company should inspire us. Without that pressure, the release of the memo may have never happened and we still might be waiting for Greyhound’s swift reversal in stance.

Often our resistance doesn’t yield immediate results.

But as the campaign against Greyhound reveals: Persistence does.

Nonviolent actions employed:

[1] NVA #2: Letters of Opposition or Support

[2] NVA #1: Public Speeches, and NVA #5: Declarations of Indictment and Intention

[3] NVA #4: Signed Public Statements

[4] NVA #47: Assemblies of Protest or Support

[5] NVA #1: Public Speeches

[6] NVA #9: Leaflets, Pamphlets, and Books

[7] NVA #16: Picketing

[8] NVA #50: Teach-ins and NVA #9: Leaflets, Pamphlets, and Books

[9] NVA #137: Refusal of an Assemblage or Meeting to Disperse

[10] NVA #71: Consumers Boycott

[11] NVA #4: Signed Public Statements

[12] NVA #8: Banners, Posters, and Displayed Communications

[13] NVA #129: Refusal of Assistance to Enforcement Agents

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