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Iranian Americans Trying To Enter U.S. Say They're Being Targeted. Warren Wants Answers From Border Agency

This June 9, 2019, file photo shows the TSA security checkpoint in Pittsburgh International's Landside terminal in Imperial, Pa. (Gene J. Puskar/AP)
This June 9, 2019, file photo shows the TSA security checkpoint in Pittsburgh International's Landside terminal in Imperial, Pa. (Gene J. Puskar/AP)

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren wants detailed information from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) about any additional security measures put in place focused on Iranian travelers entering the country.

Over the weekend, some Iranian nationals and Iranian Americans with U.S. citizenship were reportedly subjected to hours-long secondary questioning at a port of entry in Washington state. According to advocates, some were asked questions about their personal politics and religious beliefs.

In a letter addressed to CBP acting commissioner Mark Morgan, Warren said she recognizes the security threat faced by the U.S. in the wake of the killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani at the hands of American forces. Warren, who is also a Democratic candidate for president, wants to know how the agency is safeguarding the country while also preserving individual civil rights.

"The new threat warning from [U.S. Department of Homeland Security] is serious, and CBP should be taking lawful and appropriate action to protect national security. But the conflicting information circulating about CBP personnel's treatment of Iranian Americans and people who are or are perceived to be of Iranian heritage raises questions about what agency policies are in effect..."

Warren also cited reports of Iranian American constituents from Massachusetts experiencing heightened scrutiny at ports of entry in New England even before the death of Soleimani.

She gave the agency a Jan. 14 deadline to provide copies of any new policies or directives that have been put in place.

Related:

Shannon Dooling Twitter Reporter
Shannon Dooling is an immigration reporter at WBUR, Boston’s NPR news station.

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