FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - More controversy is brewing after federal authorities recently detained another person aboard a Greyhound bus.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials said Border Patrol agents routinely conduct law enforcement activities at transportation hubs as part of a layered approach to preventing illegal aliens from traveling farther into the U.S.
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Authorities said those agents operate within 100 air miles of the border and do not need a warrant to board a rail car, aircraft or vehicle to search for undocumented people.
Meanwhile, support for the Miami Beach man who was arrested is only growing.
"He had texted me that he was on the bus, and then from that point on, I wasn't able to reach him," L.A. Brickner told Local 10 News.
Brickner identified the man who was arrested as 33-year-old Andrew Anderson.
"(He's) just a very friendly and loving kind of guy," Brickner said. "We're pretty much best friends."
Brickner said Anderson is a business owner and former volunteer firefighter. She said her friend was on his way to visit her in North Captiva when he was arrested Jan. 25.
"I've talked to him on the phone, and at times, he's able to joke, and at times, he just cries. And most of the time, he's just overwhelmed with what steps he personally needs to take," Brickner said.
Brickner said Anderson came to Florida 14 years ago from Trinidad.
CBP officials said he had overstayed his crewman visa and was here illegally.
He was identified during an immigration inspection at the Fort Lauderdale Greyhound bus station.
"He feels targeted. He feels like they came directly to him," Elizabeth Fernandez, of the Florida Immigrant Coalition, said. "He's never got into trouble for anything."
The Florida Immigrant Coalition shared video of the arrest to raise awareness.
"This practice is happening," Fernandez said. 'It's been happening for a while, and it's gotten much, much worse."
Along with support from the coalition, more than 300 people now follow the "Friends of Andrew" Facebook page.
A GoFundMe account created to help in his legal fight has already passed its $5,000 goal.
"We're all being told that there are these bad hombres out there from s***hole countries," Brickner said. "It's sort of a round them all up and deport them, without thought to whether they’re someone who's really adding to the community."
CBP officials said a Jamaican woman was arrested at the same bus station just days before Anderson was for overstaying her tourist visa.
She and Anderson were held in Broward County by Immigration and Customs Enforcement Removal Operations.
Friends are planning to visit Anderson in the coming days.
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