Leaked memo directs USA border officials to question Iran travellers' faith

Leaked memo directs USA border officials to question Iran travellers' faith

Leaked memo directs USA border officials to question Iran travellers' faith

As reports of Iranian-Americans being held up at the border spread on social media and in news reports on January 6, CBP spokesman Michael Friel issued a statement saying, "Social media posts that CBP is detaining Iranian-Americans and refusing their entry into the US because of their country of origin are false. -Canada border", the Democratic lawmaker said in a statement that linked to a local paper in Washington state that published the directive.

CBP previously denied reports that around 200 travelers of Iranian descent were detained on January 4 and 5, a day after Soleimani was killed in a USA drone strike.

An excerpt from an apparent leaked U.S. Customs and Border Protection memo to border officers on who to stop for questioning after the U.S. assassinated a top Iranian general.

The bulletin, entitled "Iranian Supreme Leader Vows Forceful Revenge after U.S. Kills Maj". A man in a sweatshirt walked into the office around noon on Wednesday and left it with his legal assistant in an unmarked white envelope, he said.

Presumably, the directive was published following a teleconference on or about January 3 between field office directors and CBP Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan and Deputy Commissioner Robert Perez "where the field was asked to remain vigilant and increase their situational awareness given the evolving threat environment", according to CBP.

Blaine, Wash. -based Immigration lawyer Len Saunders alleges U.S. Customs and Border Protection's treatment of Iranian-born travellers was unconstitutional.

The alleged instructions also stated that any persons of "any other nationality" who had traveled to Iran or Lebanon should be interrogated, as well as Lebanese citizens and Palestinians who traveled to or from Israel and Jordan.

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The missive orders border agents to "conduct vetting" on people between the ages of 20 and 58 with links to Iran and Lebanon, whether they were born there or traveled there for other reasons, CBC reported. "But they're USA -[born] citizens". And because the net appears to be cast so wide, border officers likely rounded up any traveller with ties to Iran, he said.

CBP did not confirm the authenticity of the content of the memo; instead, the agency said that "officers may refer for additional screening individuals who present a known risk or individuals about whom we need more information to make a determination of risk". Reports that DHS/CBP has issued a related directive are also false.

Others say their passports and vehicle keys were taken by officers during questioning.

The officer also said in his email that after the detainment of Iranian-born travellers made national news on January 5, the new directive was suspended.

One Canadian man who was heading south for his first visit to the USA said he was held for eight hours, and saw families with children among the people being kept at the border. He also said that all Canadians should care about what happened because, depending on world events, they could be on the next list.

Saunders said the memo was a "slippery slope" and the United States government "needs to be held accountable".

The National Iranian American Council filed a formal complaint with the Department of Homeland Security about the detentions in Blaine.

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