a big part of my time, but a small part of my life

is Greyhound condoning racism …still?

                          Greyhound: Stop allowing racial profiling and harassment of your passengers based on the color of their skin                       
      Sign Maria’s Petition

Traveling the country on a Greyhound bus can be terrifying — just ask Maria Castro.

When armed U.S. Border Patrol agents boarded a Greyhound bus she was riding, Maria felt a moment of panic — she realized she wasn’t carrying proof of citizenship.

Maria is an American citizen, but she’s Latina. “I watched as officers interrogated anyone who ‘looked’ like an immigrant,” Maria says. She remembers agents selectively questioning riders who had darker skin, including her, and further questioning passengers who spoke with accents.

Maria was horrified by what happened, and angry that Greyhound allowed the Border Patrol agents to board the bus at all — because it turns out that the bus line doesn’t have to participate in random checks for proof of citizenship at all.

So Maria started a petition on Change.org calling on Greyhound to stop participating in random immigration checks, and to stop allowing Border Patrol to board their buses and harass passengers. Click here to sign Maria’s petition now.

When the Border Patrol agents boarded Maria’s bus, she says it was clear they were more likely to question and detain people who had accents and weren’t white. As a Latina American, this included Maria.

And Border Patrol’s own records back this up. Agents keep “complexion records” of passengers arrested on buses and the overwhelming majority have “medium or black” complexions.

Maria thinks that Greyhound will stop participating in these random checks if they hear from enough people who don’t want Border Patrol harassing passengers.

Random immigration checks on buses have been controversial in the past, but public outcry has changed policies around these kind of checks before. Just last year, the Border Patrol agency itself agreed to scale back the number of buses they would board randomly along parts of the Northern border after a huge public outcry from advocates that it was infringing on the civil rights of passengers. If Border Patrol is willing to scale back random checks, then it shouldn’t be hard for Greyhound to end its voluntary participation in random immigration checks, too.

Sign Maria’s petition to tell Greyhound to stop allowing Border Patrol to racially profile and discriminate on its buses.

Thanks for being a change-maker,

Rachel LaBruyere, Change.org

P.S. Thousands of people are using Change.org as a platform to fight for immigrant rights. Here are some urgent petitions started by other Change.org members:

first posted 5/28/2012