Are Iranian-Americans Being Detained at the U.S. Border?

On January 2nd, 2020, President Trump ordered an airstrike that killed Qasem Soleimani,  a top Iranian general. By doing so, the administration unilaterally and dramatically heightened tensions across the globe—potentially even pushing the United States closer to a very serious military crisis. 

There have been immediate ramifications back at home. At the border, there have been major concerns raised regarding how the federal government is treating Iranians and Iranian-Americans. In fact, there have even been reports that CBP illegally detained Iranian-Americans at the U.S.-Canadian border.    

Statement: CAIR is Assisting Iranian-Americans

On January 5th, 2020, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) released a public statement confirming that the organization is currently helping Iranian-Americans who have been or may be detained by customs officers or immigration officers. 

CAIR states that at least 60 Iranians and Iranian-Americans were detained for extensive questioning while returning to Washington state from a pop concert in Vancouver, Canada. Among other things, CAIR reports that their passports were temporarily held by CBP and that Iranians and Iranian-Americans were asked explicit questions about their political views. 

The CBP Says Claims are False

For its part, the CBP is denying any unusual detention of people with ties to Iran. As reported by USA Today, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) states that any detention is based on country of origin. That being said, under the Trump Administration, both the CBP and ICE have had major problems with transparency. It is not clear that their information can be relied on—at least for full, unvarnished accuracy. The New York Times reports that dozens of Iranian-Americans were indeed detained by the United State government. 

Know Your Rights: What Customs and Border Protection Cannot Do

With all of the reports and confusion, many people are rightfully worried about immigration detention and even deportation. Any person traveling across a U.S. border checkpoint should understand their rights. Specifically, CAIR explains that CBP cannot do the following three things:

  1. CBP cannot target people for special screening based on race or religion. 
  2. CBP cannot deny entry to U.S. citizens simply on the grounds that they refuse to answer questions. 
  3. CBP cannot deny entry to green card holders who have only briefly and innocently traveled abroad.

It should be made clear that invoking a right by remaining silent, although not cause to deny entry, could result in a delay. Finally, if your loved one has been detained by CBP or ICE, professional support is available. Call an experienced California immigration attorney as soon as possible. 

Speak to Los Angeles Immigration Lawyer for Immediate Assistance With Your Claim

At the Goldstein Immigration Lawyers, our practice is dedicated to protecting the rights and interests of immigrants and their loved ones. We firmly believe in the principle that everyone should be treated fairly. If you have any questions about your legal rights, our attorneys are standing by, ready to help. We represent clients in Los Angeles and throughout the wider area in California.