FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - Federal agents arrested a passenger in a Greyhound bus in Fort Lauderdale after, officials said, he was unable to prove he is a U.S. citizen, causing an immigrant activist group to demand answers.
Cellphone video posted online shows U.S. Border patrol agents escorting Andrew Anderson off a bus at the Downtown Fort Lauderdale Greyhound station.
Friends of Anderson said he is being held at the Broward Transitional Center.
The Florida Immigration Coalition is questioning the tactics. “Very dramatic footage,” said spokesperson Melissa Taveras. “A man with no prior arrests or no prior criminal record is being handcuffed and removed from the bus.”
The group shared the video, saying Anderson, who was born in Trinidad, has lived in Miami for more than 12 years. He also owns a business in Miami Beach and was heading north to visit a friend when he was taken into custody.
Coalition activists are mounting a campaign to pressure the bus line to stop giving federal agents access for random immigration checks.
However, Greyhound officials said they have to cooperate with the federal government. In a statement, they said, “We are required to comply with all local state and federal laws and cooperate with the relevant enforcement agencies if they ask to board our buses or enter stations.”
On Jan. 19, cellphone video showed agents at the same bus stop grabbing a suitcase belonging to a passenger after she refused to show them proof of citizenship.
Passengers watching the scene play out had questions. “If you haven’t committed a crime, why do I have to show you ID?” a female passenger is seen asking in the footage.
The bus was en route to Miami from Orlando and had stopped at the Fort Lauderdale station.
According to officials, the woman of Caribbean descent had overstayed her tourist visa. She was turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and will be deported.
A spokesperson with the U.S. Border Patrol said they routinely engage in enforcement operations at transportation hubs across the state.
“We are working on circulating a petition nationally to help provide legal resources for those that have been detained,” said Taveras.
The U.S. Border Patrol has jurisdiction anywhere within 100 miles of an exterior border. In the case of Florida, that covers the entire state.
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