U.S. border patrol chief admits Iranians were targeted at Peace Arch border

After weeks of denial, CBP official says leadership got carried away

After weeks of denying reports that U.S. Customs Border and Protection officers had singled out Iranian-Americans at the Peace Arch border last month, the head of the organization admitted Tuesday that the agency was doing exactly that.

In a media briefing in Washington, D.C., acting commissioner Mark Morgan told reporters that in one instance, leadership got “a little overzealous” and the action was “not in line with our direction.”

“We corrected that right away,” he said in the briefing.

RELATED: 60+ people of Iranian background detained for up to 16 hours at Peace Arch crossing

On Jan. 4-5, dozens of Americans and Canadians of Iranian background were reportedly detained at Peace Arch border for up to 16 hours while heading into the U.S. The detention came shortly after the Iranian government pledged retaliation for the U.S. killing of Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani.

Following media attention about the detention, followed by an apparent leaked memo from the CBP Seattle Field Office that explicitly directed front-line officers to vet people born between 1961-2001 with links to Iran, CBP repeatedly said the agency doesn’t target people based on ethnicity.

RELATED: Whistleblower says Iranian-Americans questioned at Peace Arch crossing were targeted

“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 the (Department of Homeland Security/CBP) has issued a related directive are also false,” CBP tweeted.

Morgan said there was not a national directive to single out individuals connected to Iran, however the agency developed “enhanced targeting rules” in light of the threat from Iran.

RELATED: U.S. launches investigation into Iranian-Americans held at Peace Arch border

“The totality of circumstances, yes, we enhanced our posture. In that specific office, a decision was made to take those individuals out of primary and do that discussion separately from primary. That was not in line with our direction,” Morgan said.

border agency

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

United Nations designates Surrey a ‘Tree City’

Surrey is one of 59 cities in the world to receive the designation

Surrey RCMP looking for missing boy, age 14

Brayden Ritchat, 14, last seen in the 10800-block of 141st Street in Whalley on Feb. 21

Lyn Lay calls it a day after 23 years of work at Surrey Arts Centre

‘I’ll still be working in the non-profit sector with the Youth Arts Council,’ she says

Surrey reduces cab business licence fees to match ride-hailing industry

Meantime, Surrey Board of Trade petition asks government to remove ‘archaic’ taxi boundaries

PHOTOS: Sold-out Surrey party raises $1.35M in ‘Celebration of Care’ at hospital

Hollywood-style event attracted close to 700 people to Aria Convention Centre

VIDEO: Feds warned agricultural sector near ‘tipping point’ due to blockades

Canadian Federation of Agriculture points to lack of propane and feed due to Coastal GasLink dispute

B.C. terminates contract with hospice society refusing assisted death

Delta Hospice Society loses hospital service fund of $1.5 million

Child in hospital following fatal crash that killed father, sibling on B.C. highway

The single vehicle crash occured near Kamloops on Highway 5A

‘Die!’: Vernon councillor mailed death threat

This story contains information that might be sensitive to some readers

B.C. landlord can’t serve eviction notice because tenant is in jail

Homeowner baffled at arbitrator decision based on notice of hearing not being served properly

Hidden message connects Castlegar homeowners decades apart

The Rodgers family was surprised when a message fell out of the walls as they were renovating

Two B.C. men plead guilty to bus-terminal assault of man with autism in Ontario

Parmvir Chahil and Jaspaul Uppal due to be sentenced in June for aggravated assault

B.C. Liberals call for assistance on soaring strata insurance rates

NDP’s Carole James says problem is across the country

Most Read

l -->