An immigrant comedian who was taken off a Greyhound bus and interrogated and detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents in 2019 while traveling to Portland—after having just performed a set at Washington State University—will receive a $35,000 settlement from the federal government. Comedian Mohanad Elshieky previously tweeted about the ordeal, writing that agents “took my documents and interrogated me for around 20 mins then claimed my papers were fake and that I’m ‘illegal.’ I explained to them that I was granted asylum here in the United States, and that the work permit they currently hold and the license are impossible to get unless your presence here is legal. They told me that I was lying and these could pretty much be falsified.” Elshieky, who came to the U.S. from Libya in 2014 and was granted asylum in 2018, said the incident shook his trust in the U.S. government. Another man, Andres Sosa Segura, who was subjected to a similar ordeal, will also receive $35,000.
“I’ll never forget the harassment and humiliation by the officers when it was clear I belonged in the United States and on that bus,” Elshieky said in a statement. “I hope my experience can at least be a wake-up call for others, and a lesson for CBP and its agents to treat everyone with dignity and respect, and to honor their rights.”