At least 60 people of Iranian background have been detained at the Peace Arch border crossing as they attempted to cross into the United States from Canada, according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
CAIR said the group was headed back to the U.S. after attending an Iranian pop concert in Vancouver. According to CAIR, more than 60 people were detained and more were refused entry to the United States.
CAIR, which is a Muslim civil rights advocacy group, said those who were detained have had their passports taken away.
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.
— CBP (@CBP) January 5, 2020
The detention comes shortly after the Iranian government pledged retaliation for the U.S. killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani on Friday in Baghdad.
The National Iranian American Council said it was hearing “credible reports of detentions at US borders, both of Iranian Americans and permanent residents.”
According to the NIAC, some people were detained for up to 11 to 16 hours, and “subjected to questioning as a result of their national heritage.”
Most individuals appear to have been detained for hours (up to 11-16, but also for shorter durations) and subjected to questioning as a result of their national heritage. Some of these individuals have been released. We do not know how many are still in detention.
— NIAC (@NIACouncil) January 5, 2020
In a social media post, U.S Customs and Border Protections said no one was being detained because of their nationality.
“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 tweeted.
U.S Customs and Border Protections has not yet responded to a request for comment.
Deeply disturbed by reports that Iranian Americans, including U.S. citizens, are being detained at the Canadian border with WA State.
My office has been working on this all morning. Please contact us with information on directly affected people at WA07PJ_casework@mail.house.gov.
— Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@RepJayapal) January 5, 2020