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

After weeks of denial, U.S. border 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

COVID-19: Parksville Qualicum Beach health care workers honoured with parade

Community shows appreciation to staff at Oceanside Health Centre

Snow falls in Errington on April 1 (no fooling)

Snow doesn’t stick, but more may come on Friday

Oceanside RCMP now offering online crime reporting

Tool available in certain circumstances

Order of Canada musician Phil Dwyer pens ‘The Ballad of Bonnie Henry’

Qualicum Beach lawyer notes provincial health officer has become a ‘folk hero’

‘We will get through this’: B.C. sees new COVID-19 death, but 57% have recovered

A total of 1,066 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

Couple celebrates 61st anniversary through Vancouver Island seniors’ home window

Frank and Rena Phillips marked occasion at Nanaimo Seniors Village this week while social distancing

A look at some of the B.C. inventors creating life-saving tools in fight against COVID-19

Groups across B.C. are working together to create what they hope will help people affected by the pandemic

Association launches French-language games, online tools for families learning at home

Games, culture and vocabulary included in new virtual resources

COVID-19 PQB business update: looking for takeout food?

Email messages to editor@pqbnews.com

‘There can be no ambiguity’: Travellers brought home to B.C. must self-isolate

Health Minister Adrian Dix said the mandatory isolation must be abided by

Belle from ‘Beauty and the Beast’ entertains home-bound kids in Cowichan Bay

Alora Killam, 16, played the part in musical two years ago

55+ BC Games cancelled amid COVID-19 concerns

Greater Victoria set to host 2021 event

Electric bike worth $3,000 stolen in Nanaimo’s north end

Nanaimo RCMP looking for suspect who cut lock and rode off with e-bike Monday

Most Read