After schools, hospitals and most recently courthouses, are intercity buses and bus stations the next place the open-borders crowd has decided should be immigration enforcement free zones? Where upholding our country’s laws would, for some reason, be yet again some kind of inhumane outrage? It sure seems like it.
Unlike the airlines, the bus lines don’t always check ID, or have ID requirements as strict as air travel. They’re cheaper than flying. They don’t typically scan baggage. And according to a spokesperson for Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), “transportation centers, including bus terminals, are often used by alien-smuggling and drug-trafficking organizations to move people, narcotics and contraband to interior destinations throughout the country.” To a reasonable observer, that sounds like a dangerous law-enforcement priority, not somewhere that should be off limits.
But on October 1, the Spokane, Washington, City Council’s Public Safety & Community Health Committee considered a proposed city ordinance (pgs. 82-95) that would try to keep federal immigration authorities out of “nonpublic areas” of city property “absent a judicial criminal warrant” signed by a judge. While the ordinance is much broader than just one building, all the documentation supporting it and news coverage surrounding it focused entirely on the Spokane Intermodal Facility, a city-owned building that houses the local intercity bus terminal. And while the terminal’s interior is open to the public, the council claims “[t]he bus platform [itself]is a restricted area of the facility[.]”
Since 2013, CBP indicates they’ve made nearly 200 arrests there. According to the city council, “[i]ndividuals who are detained are interrogated in an “Employee Area” inaccessible to the public.” So the ordinance would be far from academic, and set up the immediate possibility of a serious and potentially dangerous conflict between federal and local authorities. It appears to be the first of its kind, though it almost certainly won’t be the last.
That’s because illegal alien supporters have been gradually building up and pushing out their “outrage” narrative on the subject for a while now, presumably expecting local legislation like this to spring up at some point as just the next step. In January, CBP boarded a bus in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and arrested an illegal alien from Jamaica; in part because it was recorded on cell-phone video, the incident went viral and was immediately taken up as a cause celebre and deemed an outrage by all the usual suspects. In May, the ACLU sued the agency over immigration checks at a bus station in Maine. And in June, Spokane City Council President Ben Stuckert claimed Greyhound might already be violating the city’s anti-discrimination law by allowing immigration authorities access to their buses at the Intermodal Facility, which led both to the drafting of the proposed ordinance as well as yet another predictable ACLU lawsuit.
Spokane City Councilmember Breann Beggs say the full council could consider the proposed ordinance before the end of October. But how’s this for a crazy idea instead? Federal immigration law applies everywhere in the country, and law enforcement officers should be allowed to enforce it everywhere.