The Washington State chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) on Sunday sent out a press release saying U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) are denying entry to Iranian Americans at the Peace Arch Border Crossing in Blaine, Wash. after attending an Iranian pop concert in Vancouver.
The group used the story of one Iranian who was allegedly denied entry at the border and an anonymous CBP source to say that the agency "issued a national order to report and detain anyone with Iranian heritage" that is coming to the United States and "is deemed potentially suspicious."
From the press release:
Crystal, a 24-year-old American citizen and medical student was allegedly detained and interrogated for more than 10 hours with her family at the Peace Arch Border Crossing before being released early this morning. “The vast majority of people being held last night were American citizens,” said Crystal. “We kept asking why we were being detained and asked questions that had nothing to do with our reason for traveling and was told ‘I’m sorry this is just the wrong time for you guys.’”
A source at CBP reported that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued a national order to CBP to “report” and detain anyone with Iranian heritage entering the country who is deemed potentially suspicious or “adversarial,” regardless of citizenship status. CBP at the Peace Arch Border Crossing did not confirm or deny this report.
A few viral accounts on Twitter and members of Congress received the press release and took issue with what CAIR alleged took place.
BREAKING: US CUSTOMS & BORDER PROTECTION NATIONALLY HAVE BEEN ORDERED TO DETAIN & "REPORT" ALL IRANIANS ENTERING THE COUNTRY DEEMED POTENTIALLY SUSPICIOUS OR "ADVERSARIAL" REGARDLESS OF CITIZENSHIP STATUS. 60+ Iranis held last night at the US/Canada border for 11+ hrs / thread— Hoda Katebi ??? ????? (@hodakatebi) January 5, 2020
Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and Barbara Lee (D-CA) told anyone with issues at the border to contact their congressional offices.
Deeply disturbed by reports that Iranian Americans, including U.S. citizens, are being detained at the Canadian border with WA State.— Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@RepJayapal) January 5, 2020
My office has been working on this all morning. Please contact us with information on directly affected people at WA07PJ_casework@mail.house.gov.
People of Iranian descent — including American citizens & green card holders — are reportedly being detained by CBP officials. We can’t let this stand.— Rep. Barbara Lee (@RepBarbaraLee) January 5, 2020
If you or someone you know has been targeted or detained by CBP officials, please contact my district office at 510-763-0370.
But Border Patrol says no such order was issued and that social media posts are false.
"Social media posts that CBP is detaining Iranian-Americans and refusing their entry into the U.S. because of their country of origin are false," CBP spokesman Mike Friel told The Hill in a statement. "Reports that DHS/CBP has issued a related directive are also false."
According to CBC reporter Katie Nicholson, Border Patrol told her they're operating with "an enhanced posture at its port of entry."
CBP is, however, operating with what is being called an enhanced posture at its ports of entry. Processing times at points of entry are affected by traveler volumes, staffing, and threat posture.— Katie Nicholson (@KatieNicholson) January 5, 2020