While traveling from Bakersfield, California, to Las Vegas, a California woman was able to stop Border Patrol agents from demanding passengers on a Greyhound bus show their documentation at an agricultural checkpoint.
Tiana Smalls, the owner of a handmade beauty product company, was on a bus that stopped at the checkpoint near the Nevada state line. During the stop, Smalls heard the bus driver make a disarming announcement.
“We are being boarded by Border Patrol. Please be prepared to show your documentation upon request,” Smalls wrote on a Facebook post that detailed the June 6 incident.
Instead of simply complying with the agent, Smalls, who knew her rights stated in the fourth amendment, informed other passengers that this was illegal.
“This is a violation of your 4th amendment rights. You don’t have to show them *s- -t*!!! This is illegal,” she said according to her post.
Smalls went on to explain to the other passengers that Customs and Border Patrol officers didn’t have the authority to enforce certain activities because the bus was not within 100 miles an external U.S. border.
“They have no authority to ask you for anything,” she said she told passengers.
For the passengers who weren’t fluent in English, Smalls used Google translate to help her alert them of their rights.
Smalls said the woman seated next to her, who didn’t speak English, “looked terrified.”
Then, Smalls loudly accused the agents of harassment and racial profiling. She said the agents had “no legal right or jurisdiction here,” she wrote in the Facebook post.
In the end, her decision to stand up to authority worked and the Border Patrol agents allegedly retreated and told the bus driver to “go ahead."
“These Border Patrol officers act like they do because they expect people to be afraid of them and just comply,” Smalls wrote on Facebook.
Smalls urged others to speak up, too
“Use your voice. Take a risk,” she wrote. “Because if you let them intimidate the poor Spanish-speaking woman next you, who do you think they’re coming for next?”
Smalls said she “did what I thought was right.”
"I didn’t do what I did or share it for accolades or thanks … all I wanted to do was let people know that [they] can and should speak up … even if that means risking being arrested.”
(Photo: Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)