Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials released a statement Sunday evening denying reports circulating on social media claiming Iranian Americans were being detained by CBP authorities at a border crossing in Blaine, Wash.
"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," CBP spokesman Mike Friel said in a statement.
"Reports that DHS/CBP has issued a related directive are also false," he added.
A CBP official confirmed that border crossings have been subjected to increased security measures as a standard response to the increased threat environment caused by heightened tensions with Iran and stressed that longer wait times were an unintended consequence for some travelers.
A viral statement from a spokeswoman for Believers Bail Out, a group that provides financial support to incarcerated Muslim Americans, circulated on Twitter Sunday afternoon saying that CBP officials had detained dozens of Iranian Americans at the Blaine checkpoint as part of a supposed new order from the Trump administration.
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— Hoda Katebi هدی کاتبی (@hodakatebi) January 5, 2020
The claim was spread by a number of prominent Twitter accounts and at least two House Democrats, Reps. Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalOn The Money — House pushes toward infrastructure vote Biden's baffling decisions leave allies wondering where they stand Pelosi: Bipartisan infrastructure vote will happen Monday MORE (D-Wash.) and Barbara LeeBarbara Jean LeeOvernight Defense & National Security — Presented by AM General — The Quad confab The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Democrats argue price before policy amid scramble House passes sweeping defense policy bill MORE (D-Calif.).
Deeply disturbed by reports that Iranian Americans, including U.S. citizens, are being detained at the Canadian border with WA State.— Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@RepJayapal) January 5, 2020
My office has been working on this all morning. Please contact us with information on directly affected people at WA07PJ_casework@mail.house.gov.
People of Iranian descent — including American citizens & green card holders — are reportedly being detained by CBP officials. We can’t let this stand.— Rep. Barbara Lee (@RepBarbaraLee) January 5, 2020
If you or someone you know has been targeted or detained by CBP officials, please contact my district office at 510-763-0370.