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

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

(Black Press Media files)
Snowfall expected for Lower Mainland on Saturday night, Sunday morning

2 to 5 cm of snow predicted Metro Vancouver, according to Environment Canada

New Westminster-based musician Krystle Dos Santos in a promo photo.
Surrey’s ‘Digital Stage’ for Krystle Dos Santos’ Bloom/Burn songs starting Jan. 29

Black History Month-timed online concert focuses on musician’s album of R&B/soul songs

Construction on the main foyer at the soon-to-be opened Clayton Community Centre. (Photo courtesy of HCMA Architecture + Design)
Clayton Community Centre opening delayed again

City says Provincial Health Order reason for latest delay

Police were called to the scene of 198A Street and 81st Avenue on the evening of Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021. (Curtis Kreklau/Special to Black Press Media)
VIDEO: Possible shots fired on Langley/Surrey border Thursday evening

Police had one vehicle towed and gathered evidence at the scene

Isabella Skrypnyk, a Grade 11 student, and Kasonde Mulenga, a Grade 12 student, at Surrey Christian, work on some of the finishing touches of a shed on Thursday (Jan. 21, 2021). Their Grade 11/12 workplace math class has been working on since November. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Surrey students build shed as part of math class project

Grade 11/12 class learning about budgeting, financing and construction

Toronto Public Health nurse Lalaine Agarin sets up for mass vaccination clinic in Toronto, Jan. 17, 2021. B.C. is set to to begin its large-scale immunization program for the general public starting in April. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
B.C.’s COVID-19 mass vaccinations expected to start in April

Clinics to immunize four million people by September

Abbotsford Police officers investigate the scene after a pedestrian was struck and killed on Friday morning. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
Male pedestrian, 37, killed in Abbotsford after being struck by vehicle

Collision took place in 31800 block of South Fraser Way on Friday morning

A screenshot from a local Instagram account video. The account appeared to be frequented by Mission students, and showed violent videos of students assaulting and bullying other students.
Parents, former students describe ‘culture of bullying’ in Mission school district

Nearly two dozen voices come forward speaking of abuse haunting the hallways in Mission, B.C.

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Joe Biden, then the U.S. vice-president, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau take their seats at the start of the First Ministers and National Indigenous Leaders meeting in Ottawa, Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau, Biden to talk today as death of Keystone XL reverberates in Canada

President Joe Biden opposed the Keystone XL expansion as vice-president under Barack Obama

Prince Edward Island’s provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa, Friday July 3, 2020. A lozenge plant in Prince Edward Island has laid off 30 workers, citing an “almost non-existent” cold and cough season amid COVID-19 restrictions. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
‘Almost non-existent’ cold and cough season: P.E.I. lozenge plant lays off 30 workers

The apparent drop in winter colds across the country seems to have weakened demand for medicine and natural remedies

Robert Riley Saunders. (File)
Disgraced Kelowna social worker faces another class-action lawsuit

Zackary Alphonse claims he was not informed of resources available to him upon leaving government care

Fire on Yale Road north of the overpass Friday morning. (Progress file)
Early morning blaze guts Chilliwack restaurant

The fire erupted north of the overpass closing one lane of Yale Road

A specialized RCMP team is investigating a suspicious trailer, which might have connections to the illicit drug trade, found abandoned outside a Cache Creek motel. (Photo credit: <em>Journal</em> files)
Police probe U-Haul trailer linked to illicit drugs left outside Cache Creek motel

Hazardous materials found inside believed to be consistent with the production of illicit drugs

Most Read