One family was told by a CBP officer, “This is a bad time to be Iranian.” Yesterday, 70 members of Congress signed a letter to acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan to obtain more information about the secondary screenings and raise their concern over the discriminatory targeting of Iranian Americans. The Trump administration has previously targeted individuals from Muslim-majority countries through the implementation of the Muslim travel ban in 2017. The nature of this weekend’s detainments also harkens back to some of the most shameful parts of U.S. history, from Japanese internment to the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System—a program enacted shortly after 9/11 that responded to external threats by targeting people based on their race, ethnicity, and religion. The United States must not repeat the mistakes of the past and must respect everyone’s individual rights and civil liberties. These recent events emphasize the need for an immigration system that cannot be manipulated to discriminate against country-specific groups.
For more on how to reframe the immigration debate, see CAP’s report: “Restoring the Rule of Law Through a Fair, Humane, and Workable Immigration System.”