When Andres Sosa Seguras boarded a Greyhound bus to travel from Montana to his home in Washington state, he wasn't expecting to be detained and interrogated. But Border Patrol agents, who would regularly target people of color riding Greyhound buses at the bus/train station in Spokane, Washington, saw a Latino man leaving the bus alone and apprehended him. Mr. Sosa showed the agents a "Know Your Rights" card he carried with him. Their response was to interrogate him and then lock him up in a cell at a federal facility, without access to a phone, for several hours. "It was scary," said Mr. Sosa. "I was just trying to get home. I didn't understand what was happening, why they were keeping me, where they were taking me, or when I'd be able to see my family." Eventually, Mr. Sosa was released. But the injustice and trauma he suffered endured. In partnership with the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington (ACLU-WA) and Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP), DWT's Jennifer K. Chung
, Sara Fairchild
, and Ken Payson
filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government on Mr. Sosa's behalf, seeking damages for his unlawful detention and imprisonment and the Border Patrol agents' racial discrimination against him. In an initial victory, a federal judge denied the defendants' motion to dismiss the case and the government will have to defend its actions when the case goes to trial. "When agents of the federal government don't obey the constitution, all of our rights are at risk," said ACLU-WA staff attorney, Lisa Nowlin. "A ticket on Greyhound is not a waiver of your constitutional rights and the bus station in Spokane is not a Constitution-free zone."