Cantwell, DelBene Demand Answers on Iranian Americans Detained at Border
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (WA-1) sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to obtain more information regarding the holding of Iranian Americans upon entering the United States in Blaine, Washington over the weekend. The letter was also signed by U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA-7), and 70 members of the U.S. House of Representatives.
“There have been reports that more than 60 Americans of Iranian descent were held in secondary inspection at length and questioned at the Peace Arch Border Crossing – with up to 200 individuals having been reportedly affected,” the members of Congress wrote. “Those held in secondary inspection include U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and people of all ages including the elderly and children. It has been reported that their passports were confiscated, and they were questioned about their political views and allegiances without explanation.”
Some individuals claim to have been held in secondary inspection over 10 hours, and others report they were turned away due to a lack of space. Reports indicate that the passports of detained individuals were confiscated, and they were questioned about political views and allegiances without explanation.
“In conversations with individuals who were held in secondary inspection and community groups representing impacted individuals, it has become clear that this additional screening, holding, and questioning was solely reserved for Iranian Americans,” the members continued.
The letter asks DHS to explain why Americans of Iranian descent were held for secondary screenings, in some cases up to 12 hours, before they could go. It also asks DHS to provide an answer to whether a directive was issued to detain people of Iranian descent at the border.
The full letter can be read HERE.
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