HODGDON, Maine - The ACLU of Maine has asked U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to turn over records about their investigations into the citizenship of bus passengers in Maine. The ACLU has learned that passengers boarding a Concord Trailways bus in Bangor earlier this month were asked by CBP agents whether they are U.S. citizens.
This is not an isolated incident. On January 19, CBP agents removed a woman from a Greyhound Bus in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, as she was traveling home from meeting her granddaughter for the first time.According to January 22 news reports of the incident, her family had not yet heard from her.
CBP claims the authority to question people, for any reason at all, within 100 miles of any national or coastal border. This zone encompasses the entirety of Maine.
“This sort of show-me-your-papers policing makes all of us less free,” said Zachary Heiden, legal director at the ACLU of Maine. “We shouldn’t have to carry our birth certificate or passport or otherwise prove our citizenship every time we board a bus.”
The ACLU’s request seeks information regarding CBP’s bus passenger investigations within the purview of the Houlton sector office. It can be found here.