CBP Official Admits That Travelers Were Wrongly Detained

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) acting commissioner Mark Morgan has admitted that travelers with Iranian backgrounds were wrongly interrogated and detained while crossing the Peace Arch border during the January 4-5 weekend. Speaking at a news conference held in Washington, D.C. to discuss January enforcement numbers, Morgan responded to a question about a memo issued by CBP’s Seattle Field Office directing officers to apply enhanced interrogation to travelers with Middle Eastern backgrounds, including Iran.
Morgan said, “I want to make one thing clear – we do not target anyone based on their national heritage. That’s just a false narrative. In this specific incident, there was no national directive to single out individuals with Iranian backgrounds. … In that specific office, a decision was made to take those individuals out of primary inspection … that was not in line with our direction. That was immediately corrected.”
Morgan then compared the incident with how CBP is currently dealing with the novel coronavirus, saying that there is enhanced questioning of travelers who are from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the global health emergency. “It was the same thing as the threat from Iran, the totality of the circumstances,” he asserted. “I would say in that one instance, leaders just got a little overzealous and we corrected that right away.”
Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, who has been at the forefront of politicians criticizing CBP over the January 4-5 incidents, was not satisfied with Morgan’s explanation. On Twitter, she responded the same day by saying, “This is still not a sufficient response from CBP, and it’s deeply disturbing that it took my inquiries, a leaked memo and press reports for CBP to finally acknowledge that it inappropriately targeted Iranian Americans at the #WA-Canada border.”


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment