Stand-up comic Mohanad Elshieky was taking a Greyhound bus from a gig in Washington state back home to Oregon when he was harassed by Customs and Border Protection (CBP), he revealed in a viral Twitter thread, writing that agents called him an “illegal,” accused him of having fake documents, and interrogated him for 20 minutes before letting him go. “To be honest, I have never felt as terrible as I did today,” he said. “I have never imagined that I would have to go through this.”
While Elshieky initially misidentified the agents as members of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), it’s CBP that has been harassing Greyhound riders for years now because of an “obscure law” that agents believe gives them the right to demand to see the papers of anyone within 100 miles of a border. Advocates have repeatedly called on Greyhound to protect riders from immigration harassment. The bus company took a recent step forward on that, but it’s now clearly been followed by two steps back.
“I explained to them that I was granted asylum here in the United States,” Elshieky said, showing the agents his Oregon driver’s license and work authorization card. “They told me that I was lying and these could pretty much be falsified.” Agents demanded to see his asylum approval document, but Elshieky, originally from Libya, didn’t have that on him. “They got on the phone with immigration and gave them my name and document number and I can hear the person on the end of the line saying that yes they can see my name and yes, I entered the country legally,” he continued.
The agent “ended the call and then said ‘there are no records of your Asylum’ and I again said that was impossible.” The ordeal ended shortly after Elshieky threatened to call his lawyer on them. “They handed my documents back and said ‘next time, have your papers on you’ which means nothing because I did and they said they were fake.”
Border Patrol has been pulling this shit for years, stopping a Latino man last February while he was waiting for a Greyhound bus in Indio, California, because his “shoes looked suspicious,” like a recent border crosser, according to an American Civil Liberties (ACLU) attorney. ”What Greyhound and its passengers need to know is that there is no legal requirement for the company to let Border Patrol board its buses,” the ACLU said.