President Donald Trump's draconian immigration policies have made the country an even more hostile place for people of color.
In line with the current administration's even more stringent rules pertaining to citizenship, the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) now go after people in the country who are living their lives without being an obstruction to anyone.
The latest case of this is from Maine. In video footage of the episode that took place over Memorial Day Weekend, a CBP agent can be seen going around a public bus, needlessly inquiring the nationality of the passengers.
“Are you folks U.S. citizens?” asked the Custom and Border Patrol agent.
“I’m not answering that question, sir,” a man responds.
The video then shows the driver for Concord Coach Lines effectively telling passengers who are not U.S. citizens to get off the bus, by saying only American citizens can travel - a claim that is as bizarre as it is cruel.
When a man inquired if that really was the case, the bus driver confirmed.
“I doubt that,” a woman said disdainfully.
As the American Civil Liberties Union has pointed out, no one is required to answer questions regarding their nationality to board a public bus in the United States. More importantly, it remains unclear why CBP agents jumped aboard a bus to harass passengers regarding their identity.
In its defense, the CBP said that the action was within its jurisdiction, and was carried out t stop “criminal organizations from exploiting existing transportation hubs to travel to the interior of the United States.”
This excuse can only be described as flimsy and, if it’s true, it means that residents of the U.S. can expect to be questioned about the validity of their existence in the country for the rest of their life.
Concord Coach Lines vice president Ben Blunt did little to condemn the driver’s behavior in a conversation with the New Hampshire Public Radio. Instead, he said that the bus company does not want to tell its employees to not cooperate with the police.
“I think if we are remiss in anything here, it’s not doing a good enough job talking about this issue with our staff,” Blunt told the station. “We don’t want to ask our employees ? our drivers, our ticket agents ? to be interfering with a federal officer who is lawfully doing his job.”
This is not the first time ordinary passengers have been mistaken for dangerous criminals by the CBP. In January, Border Patrol Agents harassed passengers in Florida and took a woman in custody. Most of these “immigration sweeps”, the ACLU reports, are “warrantless”.
Banner / Thumbnail : Bryan Cox via Reuters