U.S.-Iran Tensions Raise Concerns For International Travel

Author:Ms Melissa Manna
Profession:Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart

On January 4, 2020, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) detained and questioned more than 60 individuals of Iranian descent at a Washington State border crossing as they attempted to return to the United States from Canada. According to news reports, CBP officers questioned a number of the travelers about their families, military backgrounds, and ties to Iran.

In response to concerns expressed by immigration advocates that CBP was singling Iranians out due to tensions between the United States and Iran, CBP issued a statement stating:

Social media posts that CBP is detaining Iranian-Americans and refusing their entry into the U.S. because of their country of origin are false. Reports that [Department of Homeland Security]/CBP has issued a related directive are also false.

According to CBP, processing times were slow due to staffing shortages and the volume of people seeking to enter the United States. News reports indicate that most of the travelers were released after being questioned and were admitted to the United States.

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