Hey ACLU, Stop Throwing Greyhound Under the Bus!

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) just can’t seem to leave Greyhound Bus Lines alone. As FAIR has noted, the so-called civil rights organization has been pressuring the venerable transport company to violate federal immigration laws – alleging that doing so would preserve the “constitutional rights” of both Greyhound and its passengers.

The ACLU’s point of contention is searches of passenger buses regularly conducted by the U.S. Border Patrol at transportation hubs in border zones. According to the ACLU, the nation’s largest motor coach operator should simply stop giving the Border Patrol permission to search its buses. The latest attack on Greyhound came in the form of protests at bus terminals in central and western New York, which seem to be part of a concerted campaign involving ACLU chapters from Florida to California.

However, there is a major problem with the ACLU’s recommendation. It’s incredibly poor legal advice. The Border Patrol doesn’t need a search warrant to board and search a bus in a border zone. 8 U.S.C. § 1357(a)(3) specifically permits immigration officers, without warrant, to board and search any railway car, conveyance or vehicle, to look for illegal aliens, within a reasonable distance of any external boundary of the United States. Current law defines a reasonable distance from the border to be 100 air miles. Rochester, New York, is roughly 85 miles from the Canadian border.

Illegal aliens frequently enter the U.S. and then board busses or trains to get away from the border. Immigration authorities have a legitimate interest in detecting them and apprehending them before they disappear into the interior of the country. Accordingly, the Supreme Court has repeatedly found that warrantless searches at or near the border fall within the so-called “Border Search Exception” and immigration agents are free to board public conveyances in the border zone to verify travelers’ immigration status.

Of course, neither the relevant statute, nor the interpreting precedent, fit the ACLU’s “immigration enforcement-equals-oppression” narrative. So it simply ignores them and attempts to bully companies like Greyhound into violating our immigration laws, thereby aiding illegal aliens, and thwarting legitimate efforts to protect our borders.

However, the fact that the ACLU has conjured up a non-existent “right” to illegally jump our borders and get away with it doesn’t mean Greyhound has to buy into the illusion. Like all companies operating in the United States, it has a vested interest in cooperating with law enforcement to keep its customers safe. So, maybe it’s time for Greyhound’s executives to tell the ACLU, “Mind your own business and leave the driving to us!”

About Author


Matthew J. O’Brien joined the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in 2016. Matt is responsible for managing FAIR’s research activities. He also writes content for FAIR’s website and publications. Over the past twenty years he has held a wide variety of positions focusing on immigration issues, both in government and in the private sector. Immediately prior to joining FAIR Matt served as the Chief of the National Security Division (NSD) within the Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate (FDNS) at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), where he was responsible for formulating and implementing procedures to protect the legal immigration system from terrorists, foreign intelligence operatives, and other national security threats. He has also held positions as the Chief of the FDNS Policy and Program Development Unit, as the Chief of the FDNS EB-5 Division, as Assistant Chief Counsel with U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement, as a Senior Advisor to the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman, and as a District Adjudications Officer with the legacy Immigration & Naturalization Service. In addition, Matt has extensive experience as a private bar attorney. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in French from the Johns Hopkins University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Maine School of Law.


  1. avatar

    Time to go after the ACLU!!!! Ban them and their group. They are anti-American!!! They no longer care about Americans!!!! They care about illegals and destruction of this country!!!!

  2. avatar

    ACLU is no longer a bipartisan group. They are a liberal group that is anti-American liberal group. Time to disband them. I am sure George Soros is their main financial backer.

  3. avatar

    The ACLU was formed by communist lawyers, and has worked against national interests for nearly a century.

  4. avatar

    This is one of the reasons why I no longer support the ACLU. I dropped my membership with them when I first noticed how far to the left they’ve gone. They’re not just liberals, they’re an extreme leftists.

  5. avatar
    William Webb on

    ACLU is the ultimate politically correct organization. I, on the other hand, believe in the Constitution and the rule of law. The ACLU would not approve of my methods. The zero tolerance policy announced by Sessions and the border wall promised by Trump are only the beginning. The National Guard on the border will free up the Border Patrol and ICE to round up the illegal aliens and get them on busses back to the border. No more catch and release. The Mexican authorities will begin to cooperate if they want anything left of NAFTA. Canada can let in all the illegals they want, but people raised in the desert I don’t think like it when it’s below zero. I see another border wall in the future.

  6. avatar

    The fifth columnists at the ACLU continue to try to destroy America from within. The activities of the ACLU fifth column should be investigated by the US government.

    Fifth column: “A fifth column is any group of people who undermine a larger group from within, usually in favour of an enemy group or nation. The activities of a fifth column can be overt or clandestine. Forces gathered in secret can mobilize openly to assist an external attack. Clandestine fifth column activities can involve acts of sabotage, disinformation, or espionage executed within defense lines by secret sympathizers with an external force.”

  7. avatar

    The ACLU is not an America supporter in any way. They need to look at what they are doing to citizens with their actions.

  8. avatar

    Exactly! ACLU should be trying to defend American citizens rights, like Christians that get their rights violated on a continuous basis.

  9. avatar

    The American Criminal Lawyers’ Union wants more defiance of laws passed by our democratically-elected legislative body. Why am I not surprised?

  10. avatar

    aclu NOT a civil rights group. They were initiated to destroy the United States. They are a hate group.