By Associated Press - Thursday, April 29, 2021

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - The federal government has agreed to pay two men $35,000 each to settle lawsuits after the men were detained and interrogated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents in separate incidents at the downtown bus station in Spokane, Washington.

Attorneys for Andres Sosa Segura and Mohanad Elshieky said Thursday the detentions were part of a pattern of discriminatory behavior by CBP agents.

The two men filed lawsuits in which they contended that agents regularly targeted people of color who were riding Greyhound buses at the Spokane Intermodal Center and interrogated them about their immigration status.

Sosa was traveling home from Montana in 2017, when CBP agents stopped him as he tried to transfer buses in Spokane. The incident caused Sosa to miss his bus home.

Elshieky is from Libya and is a professional comedian who was returning home to Portland, Oregon, from a gig in Pullman, Washington, when agents ordered him off a Greyhound bus during a layover in Spokane. Elshieky had recently been granted asylum in the U.S., yet agents called him an illegal and contended his documents were fake.

“No one should have to endure what Mr. Sosa and Mr. Elshieky went through while simply trying to travel home,” said Lisa Nowlin, staff attorney for the ACLU of Washington, which helped represent the men.

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