NIAC Statement on DHS Investigation into Detentions of Iranian Americans at U.S. Ports of Entry

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, January 7, 2020 
CONTACT: Mana Mostatabi | 202.386.6325 x103 | mmostatabi@niacouncil.org

Washington DC – In response to reports that some 60 Iranian Americans were held for lengthy questioning by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at U.S. ports of entry, the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) requested that the Department of Homeland Security open an investigation into the detentions and questioning.

NIAC President Jamal Abdi issued the following statement elaborating on the request:

“On Sunday, January 5, the National Iranian American Council requested that the Department of Homeland Security’s Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties open an investigation into the detainment and questioning of Iranian Americans at the U.S. ports of entry. We are pleased that the Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties has opened an investigation into CBP’s potential discriminatory targeting of Iranian Americans at the border following our formal complaint. We will be working to ensure that the investigation is thorough, timely and results in the halt of this discriminatory treatment targeting our community. Detaining individuals on the basis of their national origin is illegal, and the Iranian-American community will not stand for such outrageous and discriminatory treatment. 

“Unfortunately, we continue to see discriminatory targeting of the Iranian-American community from this administration, which began on week one when it instituted a Muslim ban and spread fear and chaos across the country. Three years later, we are still battling to safeguard our community’s rights and won’t stop until everybody in our community and country is safe from discrimination on the basis of their national heritage.

“We will continue to work closely with other allied community organizations, many of whom helped in flagging these abuses. Moreover, we greatly appreciate the leadership of Rep. Pramila Jayapal who has been at the forefront of halting these discriminatory practices and bringing the truth to light.”

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