Press Releases

Larsen Statement in Response to CBP Directive to Detain Americans at U.S.-Canada Border

Washington, DC, January 30, 2020

Today, Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-02) issued the below statement in response to a newly-released U.S. Customs and Border Protection memo that shows American citizens of Iranian descent and others were targeted for detainment based on little more than their country of origin at the Blaine Ports of Entry:

“Three weeks ago, I joined Congresswoman DelBene and my colleagues to press U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Department of Homeland Security for details regarding the detainment of American citizens for secondary inspection at the Blaine Ports of Entry on the border. These invasive inspections affected Americans from a variety of cultural backgrounds, but especially those of Iranian descent. The memo released today portrays a gross and disappointing policy that broadly seeks to detain any Americans with minimal connections to the Middle East. This is a completely different story than what CBP and DHS briefed Members of Congress on just a few weeks ago.”

“I continue to have many questions that CBP has failed to answer: Did the CBP spokesperson actually say that ethnicity is not nationality as the justification for claiming that CBP did not target ethnicity? How does Spokesperson Givens then justify holding persons whose nationality is American? Or does CBP not recognize naturalized US citizens as American or American enough?

“Congresswoman DelBene has been a tireless advocate for people affected by this administration’s reckless, broken immigration policy. I will continue to work with her and my colleagues to seek answers and hold the administration accountable.”