Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) denied the posts on social media that dozens of Iranians and Iranian-Americans have been harassed and detained for hours at the US border because of their country of origin.
“Social media posts that CBP is detaining Iranian-Americans and refusing their entry into the US because of their country of origin are false,” CBP spokesman Michael Friel said.
He also denied the reports that the Department of Homeland Security and CBP had issued a directive to ban Iranian-Americans from entering the country.
An unnamed security official said the increasing delays that Iranian-Americans were facing at the border were related to CBP’s operation for “an enhanced posture at its ports of entry” to safeguard its national security.
Public officials, however, condemned the delays as they accused Trump administration of exaggeration.
“Washingtonians who happen to be Iranian-American were detained at the Canadian-US border for extended periods of time for no other reason than their ethnicity or country of origin,” Washington Governor Jay Inslee said in a statement.
“This is wrong and rife with constitutional and moral problems. No one should be treated differently due to where they come from, how they look or what language they speak,” he added.
The increased investigation at the border arises after Iran vowed to avenge Soleimani’s death after US President Donald Trump ordered a drone strike that killed the Tehran’s top general.
‘It is just the wrong time for you guys’
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Muslim advocacy group, talked to a 24-year-old Crystal about the detainment, and she said that her family was detained for more than 10 hours before being released early Sunday.
According to her, when her family asked why they are being detained, the CBP agents said, “It is just the wrong time for you guys.”
“These reports are extremely troubling and potentially constitute illegal detentions of United States citizens. We are working to verify reports of a broad nationwide directive to detain Iranian-Americans at ports of entry so that we can provide community members with accurate travel guidance,” said the executive director of CAIR’s Washington chapter, Masih Fouladi.
However, CBP officials insist that the agency does not discriminate based on religion, race or ethnicity.