Should I be denied re-entry to the U.S?  Even as a U.S. Citizen, am I a threat to the U.S. just because I was born in Iran?

This is another sad day in the United States under the current administration. Individuals entering the U.S. have been stripped of their rights and dignity, simply based on their country of origin. Amidst escalating tensions between the U.S. and Iran, U.S. citizens of Iranian heritage entering the U.S. in Washington were detained and questioned at length over the weekend. Many more individuals were turned around at the border and refused the opportunity to enter the United States.

Reports indicated that U.S. Customs and Border Protection received new, nationwide guidance to report and detain “suspicious” Iranians entering the country, regardless of citizenship or immigration status.  If these reports are true, this policy may result in the illegal detention of United States citizens. In fact, this policy is so broad and vague that it could prevent even me from re-entering the U.S.  Though CBP has denied this report, it has acknowledged it is operating with enhanced security. Individuals recently detained reported that their passports were confiscated and they were questioned about their political views, allegiances, what courses they studied in college, and other invasive an interrogative questions.

As we learn more information about the government’s new directives, I will continue to share additional guidance. In the meantime, persons of Iranian heritage traveling abroad should be prepared for additional screening and potential interrogation and detainment. When entering the U.S., individuals are unable to contact their attorney, so be prepared with the necessary documentation prior to your travel. I am deeply troubled and saddened by these knee-jerk policies and pray for peace and the restoration of rights for American citizens and immigrants alike.