Customs and Border Protection Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan told reporters this week that officers in Seattle “got a little overzealous” when they detained hundreds of Iranian-Americans at the border last month.
Morgan said in a press conference on Tuesday that “in that specific office, leadership just got a little overzealous,” following the U.S. air strike that killed a high-ranking Iranian general, according to NPR. Morgan said that field offices were instructed after the strike to remain vigilant, but did not order officers to hold and question everyone coming from Iran, even those with U.S. citizenship or green cards.
"That was not in line with our direction. And so that was immediately corrected," he said. "And it was very unique to that one sector."
However, Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., said in a statement that Morgan’s did not give “a sufficient response” considering a leaked memo apparently issued by the CBP’s Seattle office instructed border agents to place increased security measures on travelers with connections to the Middle East.
“It’s deeply disturbing that it took my inquiries, a leaked memo and press reports for CBP to finally acknowledge that it inappropriately targeted Iranian Americans at the Washington state-Canada border,” the congresswoman said in a statement, according to the Los Angeles Times. “We have heard reports of at least one other field office that acted on similar procedures, in addition to the Blaine, Wash., point of entry.”
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