Lawmakers demand answers for detention of Iranian Americans at US-Canada border

Two U.S. congresswomen are demanding that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (USCBP) send a formal apology and release records in connection with the January 2020 detainment of Iranian Americans at the U.S.-Canada border, The Associated Press reported.

House Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.) requested in their letter Tuesday an apology from USCBP and the renunciation of the hours-long detainment of the Iranian American travelers at the U.S.-Canada border. 

“Men, women and children legally entering or returning to the United States at a designated port of entry should not be arbitrarily held and questioned solely based on their religion, ethnicity, or national origin,” the lawmakers said in their letter. 

The lawmakers are also asking for a “prompt publication” of an internal report that details the events that took place at the border during those days, according to the AP. 

The letter also asks the agency to hold a press conference “to publicly renounce their actions, and commit to changes moving forward.”

Two hudred travelers were detained at the U.S.-Canada border days after a U.S. drone strike killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani in January 2020, the AP reported. 

Many of the detained were U.S. citizens and some have been cleared to participate in a program for trusted travelers. 

USCBP said at that time that its intention wasn’t to target Iranian Americans based on their country of origin or issue any such directive to its officers, blaming the detainments on reduced staffing due to the holiday season and increased traffic.  

The deadline stated for the request is on the second anniversary of the detainments, Jan. 5, 2022, the AP noted.

Tags Pramila Jayapal Qassem Soleimani Suzan DelBene Washignton D.C.

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