SPOKANE — A state judge in Spokane has denied an attempt by Greyhound Lines to dismiss Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s lawsuit against the bus company for allowing the federal government to search its buses for people who are in the country illegally.

The lawsuit, filed in April, seeks to prevent Greyhound from allowing U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents to board its buses and conduct warrantless and suspicionless immigration sweeps of Greyhound passengers at the Spokane Intermodal Center.

Spokane County Superior Judge Maryann C. Moreno this week rejected Greyhound’s argument that the company had no choice but to allow federal immigration officials to board its buses.

Multiple U.S. Supreme Court rulings limit CBP’s authority to conduct warrantless and suspicionless searches without consent, Ferguson contended.

“Today’s ruling affirms that Greyhound has the power and responsibility to stand up for its customers and stop allowing CBP’s suspicionless bus raids and harassment,” Ferguson said.

The lawsuit contends Greyhound has allowed the sweeps since at least 2013. Greyhound publicly acknowledged the sweeps in 2018.

Ferguson said that during the sweeps, passengers of color are questioned at length and often required to get off the bus. He said CBP agents sometimes detain or arrest passengers, or rifle through their luggage, while others watch.