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

Okanagan rinks have mixed results as BC Seniors Curling finals begin

A total of 15 rinks are competing in Vernon for right to go to nationals in Manitoba

‘The NDP of the ’90s is back’: Kelowna-Lake Country MLA voices concerns over 2020 budget

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick said the new budget is “classic NDP tax-and-spend”

Canadian Air Force joins Okanagan rescue of missing Kelowna snowmobiler

The teen had been missing since just after 6 p.m. on Monday

City of Kelowna signs UNHCR statement of solidarity with refugees

The #WithRefugees campaign invites cities working to promote inclusion and support refugees

Aquilini Group addresses heating complaints at SOPA Square in Kelowna

Some store owners have been without heat at development for up to a month

VIDEO: 7 things you need to know about the 2020 B.C. budget

Surplus of $227 million with big spending on infrastructure and capital projects

Trees Cannabis director fined $1.5M for selling marijuana

Fine follows provincial crackdown on popular dispensary

World Cup skier from Okanagan dies suddenly at 19

Kuroda, who made his World Cup debut earlier this year, passed away suddenly Monday night.

Coastal GasLink pipeline investor committed to closing deal despite protests

Developer TC Energy Corp. — formerly TransCanada Corp. — is to remain the operator of the $6.6-billion pipeline

New highway proposed between Alberta and B.C.

The route would connect Red Deer to Kamloops

What’s in a name? The story of Revelstoke’s Mt. Begbie

It’s likely the iconic peak had several Indigenous peoples’ names before settlers arrived

Budget 2020: B.C. Liberals blast ‘Netflix tax,’ lack of economic plan

ICBC rates still go up, except in election year, Shirley Bond says

Town of Osoyoos voices support for proposed casino

Osoyoos council voted to submit a letter of support for a proposed casino on OIB land

Two law enforcement trucks ‘deliberately’ set on fire in northern B.C., RCMP say

Police say they have video evidence of a person in the area of the truck fires

Most Read