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Immigration Law

"We're Just Following Orders"

Hamed Aleaziz, Adolfo Flores, BuzzFeed News, Jan. 6, 2020

"Customs and Border Protection officials in DC scrambled to get more information from an official border crossing in Washington state this weekend when they heard reports that officers were questioning Iranian-born US citizens and residents for hours.

In an email sent to congressional staff on Monday and first reported by CNN, a CBP liaison said they contacted the port of entry in Blaine, Washington, for additional information and discussion to make sure people being sent to secondary inspection were being screened on a "totality of circumstances."

Over the weekend, reports emerged of US citizens and permanent residents of Iranian descent being questioned in secondary inspection at the Blaine port of entry for hours. They were asked about their families, where they lived, their occupations, and whether they served in the military.

... Saunders [a Blaine, WA immigration attorney] went to the port of entry and was told by a CBP officer who rolled their eyes that the increased screenings were "orders from above."

"They said, 'We're doing extreme vetting right now. This is a complete waste of time, but we're just following orders,'" Saunders recalled."