NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Sunday, January 5th, 2020

Iranian-American citizens detained at the border on the orders of Donald Trump’s goons

Iran­ian-Amer­i­can cit­i­zens return­ing from Cana­da are being harassed and detained at the Unit­ed States Bor­der by immi­gra­tion offi­cials, the Coun­cil on Amer­i­can-Islam­ic Rela­tions declared in an urgent bul­letin pub­lished today.

“The Wash­ing­ton state chap­ter of the Coun­cil on Amer­i­can-Islam­ic Rela­tions, CAIR Wash­ing­ton (CAIR-WA) is assist­ing more than 60 Ira­ni­ans and Iran­ian-Amer­i­cans of all ages who were detained at length and ques­tioned at the Peace Arch Bor­der Cross­ing in Blaine, Wash­ing­ton,” the bul­letin begins.

“Many more were report­ed­ly refused entry to the Unit­ed States due to a lack of capac­i­ty for Cus­toms and Bor­der Patrol (CBP) to detain them. Oth­er Iran­ian-Amer­i­cans are about to cross the Peace Arch Bor­der as they returned from an Iran­ian pop con­cert that was tak­ing place on Sat­ur­day in Van­cou­ver, Canada.”

“Those detained report­ed that their pass­ports were con­fis­cat­ed and that they were ques­tioned about their polit­i­cal views and alle­giances,” the bul­letin went on to explain. “CBP offi­cials con­tact­ed at the Blaine Port of Entry pro­vid­ed no com­ment or rea­sons for the detentions.”

But, of course, there is a rea­son… and it has to do with the Trump regime’s fear of reprisals fol­low­ing Trump’s deci­sion to assas­si­nate Solenami:

Crys­tal, a 24-year-old Amer­i­can cit­i­zen and med­ical stu­dent was alleged­ly detained and inter­ro­gat­ed for more than ten 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 were 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.

Empha­sis is mine.

The offi­cial gov­ern­ment line is, of course, denial. Who, us? says CBP.

Matt Leas, a spokesman for Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion, dis­put­ed the accounts and reports from advo­ca­cy groups that the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty had issued a direc­tive to detain those with Iran­ian her­itage enter­ing the coun­try, despite their cit­i­zen­ship status.

“Social media posts that C.B.P. is detain­ing Iran­ian-Amer­i­cans and refus­ing their entry into the U.S. because of their coun­try of ori­gin are false,” Mr. Leas said. Offi­cials from the agency added secu­ri­ty at ports of entry across the coun­try after the threat from Iran.

CAIR Wash­ing­ton sub­se­quent­ly report­ed that those who were being detained have been released. But what about those Iran­ian-Amer­i­cans who need to cross the bor­der in the next few hours or days? Will they also be sub­ject­ed to this immoral, unac­cept­able treatment?

Sev­er­al mem­bers of Con­gress say they are work­ing to assist those who may have been harassed, delayed, or detained at the bor­der by the CBP.

“I am active­ly work­ing to get more infor­ma­tion on the reports of Amer­i­cans and law­ful per­ma­nent res­i­dents of Iran­ian descent being detained by CBP, includ­ing at the Canadian‑U.S. bor­der in Wash­ing­ton,” said U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Adam Smith. “It is unac­cept­able for the civ­il lib­er­ties of Amer­i­cans and immi­grants to be vio­lat­ed. We can­not let dis­crim­i­na­tion dic­tate our poli­cies and actions.”

“We have heard reports of Iran­ian Amer­i­can cit­i­zens being detained at the Blaine bor­der cross­ing,” said U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Suzan Del­Bene, who rep­re­sents bor­der neigh­bor­hoods. “My team and I are work­ing with state and fed­er­al offi­cials to get to the bot­tom of these reports. If you or your fam­i­ly have been impact­ed and require assis­tance please reach out to my office in Both­ell at (425) 485‑0085.”

“Deeply dis­turbed by reports that Iran­ian Amer­i­cans, includ­ing U.S. cit­i­zens, are being detained at the Cana­di­an bor­der with Wash­ing­ton State,” said U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Prami­la Jaya­pal. “My office has been work­ing on this all morn­ing. Please con­tact us with infor­ma­tion on direct­ly affect­ed peo­ple at WA07PJ_casework@mail.house.gov.”

If you’d like to assist those affect­ed, con­sid­er a dona­tion to CAIR Wash­ing­ton.

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