Customs And Border Protection Denies Viral News That It’s Been Ordered To Detain Iranians

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Jason Hopkins Immigration and politics reporter
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Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is denying that it has been ordered to detain and refuse entry to Iranian-Americans, refuting claims that have been promulgated by Democratic lawmakers and others on social media.

CBP, the agency within the Department of Homeland Security tasked with managing immigration into the U.S., released a statement Sunday evening, declaring reports saying its agents have been directed to detain and deny entry to Iranian-Americans are “false.”

“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. Reports that DHS/CBP has issued a related directive are also false,” the agency said in a statement Sunday.

The statement followed massive circulation on social media that CBP has been detaining individuals of Iranian origin at the Canadian border.

Hoda Katebi tweet. Screen shot

Hoda Katebi tweet. Screen shot

“BREAKING: US CUSTOMS & BORDER PROTECTION NATIONALLY HAVE BEEN ORDERED TO DETAIN & ‘REPORT’ ALL IRANIANS ENTERING THE COUNTRY DEEMED POTENTIALLY SUSPICIOUS OR ‘ADVERSARIAL’ REGARDLESS OF CITIZENSHIP STATUS. 60+ Iranis held last night at the US/Canada border for 11+ hrs / thread,” read a tweet from Hoda Katebi, a self-described political fashion writer.

Katebi’s tweet, at the time of this article’s publication, has received over 27,000 retweets and more than 35,000 “likes.”

As proof of her claim, Katebi issued a press release alongside the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ (CAIR) Washington state chapter. The press release stated it was assisting more than 60 Iranians and Iranian-Americans who were being detained and questioned at the Peace Arch Border Crossing in Blaine, Washington, while others were refused entry altogether.

Citing a single source within CBP, the CAIR press release went on to say the Department of Homeland Security “issued a national order to CBP” to “detain anyone with Iranian heritage entering the country who is deemed potential suspicious or ‘adversarial.'”

These claims went viral, and appeared to attract public statements from at least two Democratic lawmakers.

Pramila Jayapal tweet. Screenshot

Pramila Jayapal tweet. Screenshot

“Deeply disturbed by reports that Iranian Americans, including U.S. citizens, are being detained at the Canadian border with WA State,” tweeted Democratic Washington Rep. Pramila Jayapal on Sunday. Her tweet received more than 10,000 retweets as of press time.

Barbara Lee tweet. Screenshot

Barbara Lee tweet. Screenshot

“People of Iranian descent — including American citizens & green card holders — are reportedly being detained by CBP officials. We can’t let this stand,” tweeted Democratic California Rep. Barbara Lee on Sunday. Her tweet received more than 13,000 retweets. (RELATED: ‘Irresponsible Misinformation’: ICE Denies Its Agent Dressed As A Homeless Person And Entered A Church)

Both lawmakers encouraged the public the contact their offices if they had more information.

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