CWS Demands CBP Provide Humane Treatment of Iranians and Iranian-Americans at the Border



CONTACT: | 202-795-9430


CWS Demands CBP Provide Humane Treatment of Iranians and Iranian-Americans at the Border


Washington, D.C. – In response to reports that more than 60 Iranians and Iranian-Americans were detained, had their passports confiscated, and questioned about their loyalty to the United States, CWS released the following statement:

CWS is deeply troubled by reports that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) was ordered to report and detain anyone with Iranian heritage entering the United States who is deemed potentially suspicious or adversarial, regardless of citizenship status. CWS urges CBP to clarify reports of the directive to detain Iranian-Americans at ports of entry and to immediately terminate the illegal detention of U.S. citizens. CWS calls on Congress and the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) to investigate the claims and hold the agency accountable for improperly detaining American citizens and their family members.

Questioning and detaining the political views and allegiances of Americans with perceived foreign backgrounds echoes some of the darkest times in our nation’s history and is akin to Japanese-American internment. Iranian-Americans are already impacted by the administration’s unjust and discriminatory Muslim and refugee bans. Congress should also swiftly pass the NO BAN Act (H.R.2214 / S.1123), which would end the Muslim, refugee, and asylum bans that have prolonged family separation, discriminated against individuals based on their faith and nationality, and abandoned the most vulnerable in life-threatening situations.

CWS’s response to the Muslim and refugee bans can be found here. Multi-language Know Your Rights materials are available here.


Since 1946, Church World Service has supported refugees, immigrants and other displaced individuals, in addition to providing sustainable relief and development solutions to communities that wrestle with hunger and poverty. Learn more about our work and join our global homebase for refugee solidarity at