As tensions between the United States and Iran continue to escalate, dozens of Iranians and Iranian-Americans have been detained at the Canadian border. As the New York Times reports, dozens of people were reportedly held for hours at the Washington state border to Canada. America's Department of Homeland Security recently increased security at border ports across the country as a result of Iran's promise to enact revenge over the killing of Qassem Soleimani.
The majority of the travelers, of which there were more than 60, were returning home after vacations or work trips. Many were held for questioning regarding their political views and possible "allegiances," travelers and advocacy groups revealed. Executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations Masih Fouladi called the reports "extremely troubling," and added that it is "a bad time to be an Iranian."
Canadian Customs and Border Protection spokesman Matt Leas has disputed these reports, however. "Social media posts that C.B.P. is detaining Iranian-Americans and refusing their entry into the U.S. because of their country of origin are false," he said in a statement.
As the CBC reports, some Iranian-Canadians were also detained at the border and interrogated for hours by U.S. border patrol agents. Vancouver resident Sam Sadr said he and his family had their passports confiscated as they made their way to the Peace Arch border crossing on Saturday. "That's discrimination, I am a Canadian citizen," he said. Sadr, who was born in Iran's capital Tehran, claimed he saw over 100 people of Iranian descent held for questioning.
Many Twitter users were quick to call out the Customs and Border Protection's claim that no such thing happened at the border. "THIS IS A LIE," one person said. "My Iranian-American friend was detained at the Canada/Washington border this Saturday."
Obviously, not many people are buying the CBP statement.