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Greyhound to pay restitution to bus riders impacted by immigration searches, detentions

Courtesy of Greyhound

People affected by warrantless searches that were carried out by immigration authorities on Greyhound buses in Spokane can now apply for restitution.

Greyhound settled with the Washington Attorney General’s Office for $2.2 million dollars earlier this year after the office sued the company for allowing US Custom and Border Patrol agents to board buses in Spokane and search, question and detain people without warrants.

Starting today, people who were harmed by those practices can seek restitution.

The AG’s office is taking claims until March 31. Applicants will not be asked about their immigration status. Both Spanish and English claim forms are available on the Attorney General’s website and people can return their completed forms via traditional mail, email or WhatsApp.

The restitution amounts will be determined by the number of people who apply, and how seriously they were impacted. The Washington Attorney General’s office estimates checks will go out next summer.

In addition to restitution, Greyhound must also make several changes to prevent discrimination and warrantless searches in the future.

The company must create a corporate policy barring immigration agents from boarding buses without reasonable suspicion or a warrant, and provide training on that policy.

It also must issue public statements in both English and Spanish to the public that Border Patrol does not have permission to board its buses.

The company is also required to create a complaint process for customers if they see immigration agents on buses or at bus stations, and provide those complaints to the Attorney General’s Office.

Rebecca White is a 2018 graduate of Edward R Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University. She's been a reporter at Spokane Public Radio since February 2021. She got her start interning at her hometown paper The Dayton Chronicle and previously covered county government at The Spokesman-Review.
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