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Federal authorities say they aren’t detaining Iranian-Americans at the Washington/Canada border

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) preclearance operations at Vancouver International Airport. Passengers depart the processing area and enter the Downstream area where they can purchase duty free mechandise and connect to airport flight gates. (Donna Burton/Customs and Border Protection)
January 06, 2020

Despite numerous news reports to the contrary, U.S. Customs and Border Protection denied Sunday that their officers were detaining Iranian-Americans at a Washington border crossing with Canada near Blaine.

“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,” the agency wrote on Twitter on Sunday afternoon. “Reports that DHS/CBP has issued a related directive are also false.”

The Washington chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim civil rights advocacy group, reported early Sunday that it was providing legal assistance to dozens of people claiming to be detained at the Peace Arch Border Crossing connecting Blaine to Surrey, British Columbia. The agency said many Iranian-Americans were returning to the United States after an Iranian pop music concert in Vancouver on Saturday night.

Gov. Jay Inslee said Sunday he’d reached out to the Department of Homeland Security, who told him they did not issue an order to detain or refuse entry to Iranian-Americans. The reports follow a U.S. airstrike last week that killed Qassem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Quds military force, and increasing talk of further military action from President Donald Trump.


© 2020 The Spokesman-Review