Greyhound Lines Inc reached a $2.2 million settlement with the State of Washington as a result of a lawsuit filed by State of Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson. The basis for the lawsuit was the policy of Greyhound to allow the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents to conduct warrantless immigration sweeps on Greyhound buses.
The lawsuit, filed April 13, 2020 in Spokane County Superior Court, cited the “unfair, deceptive, and discriminatory practice of regularly allowing U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents to board Greyhound buses” on its non-public property at the Spokane Intermodal Center. The suit alleged that the purpose of CBP boarding the buses was to perform suspicionless and warrantless immigration sweeps of Greyhound bus passengers. The suit further alleged that the immigration sweeps violated the Washington Law Against Discrimination, along with the Consumer Protection Act.
The state attorney general’s office further alleged that Greyhound refused to implement changes and continually failed to notify Greyhound passengers about the possibility of immigration sweeps. The warrantless sweeps continued even after Greyhound acknowledged in 2018 that they resulted in harm to its passengers.
The settlement, announced September 28, 2021, will go towards recouping legal fees, and for restitution to passengers that were arrested, detained, or deported because of the immigration sweeps. Greyhound agreed to other terms, which include:
- Issuing a public statement in both English and Spanish that the company does not support CBP agents boarding its buses without a warrant
- Placing stickers at or near the front door of buses indicating that Greyhound does not consent to immigration officers boarding its buses without reasonable suspicion or a warrant
- Providing placards for Greyhound drivers to give to immigration agents that state that the company does not consent to immigration officers boarding buses to perform warrantless or suspicionless searches
- Implementing a complaint procedure for passengers that want to complain about the presence of CBP agents on buses or at Greyhound bus stations
Judge Maryann C. Moreno previously denied a request by Greyhound to dismiss the lawsuit in March 2021. The judge rejected the argument that Greyhound did not have a choice but to allow the immigration agents to board their buses and to conduct the immigration sweeps. The trial was set to begin the day before the announcement of the settlement.