CBP admits it targeted Iranian Americans

Email sent: Feb 13, 2020 6:00pm

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Customs and Border Protection admits to detaining Iranian Americans; the WHO gives the coronavirus a name.


Tonight's Sentences was written by Cameron Peters.

Customs and Border Protection agents detained American citizens at the border last month
A US border checkpoint.
Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images
  • US Customs and Border Protection conceded this week that its agents detained hundreds of Iranian and Iranian American travelers at the US-Canada border last month following the US killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani. [NPR / Joel Rose]
  • Travelers — some of whom were American citizens — were held for up to 10 hours at the border and questioned about their “political views and allegiances.” [Vox / Nicole Narea]
  • According to the American Civil Liberties Union, however, CBP acted unlawfully: “The government cannot … select travelers for further questioning based on their national origin,” the group says on its website. [ACLU / Scarlet Kim and Hugh Handeyside]
  • In contrast to Tuesday’s admission by acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan, the agency had previously denied allegations that it detained people crossing the border because of their country of origin. [KUOW / Esmy Jimenez and Patricia Murphy]
  • Last month, Politico obtained a CBP memo directing officers in the agency’s Seattle office to target travelers with connections to Iran or Lebanon for “specialized vetting procedures.” [Politico / Lauren Gardner]
  • Also in January, the CBP deported an Iranian student, who had been issued a visa to study in the US, despite a court order not to do so. CBP claimed it was “unaware” of the order. [CNN / Christina Maxouris, Rebekah Riess, and Carma Hassan]
  • At least 15 other Iranian students have had similar experiences since August 2019; though the students had valid visas, CBP detained them and then deported them to Iran. [NYT / Caleb Hampton and Caitlin Dickerson]
  • According to Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), CBP’s actions are under investigation by the Homeland Security Department’s office for civil rights. [WSJ / Michelle Hackman]
The disease caused by the Wuhan coronavirus gets a name
  • The World Health Organization has named the disease caused by the strain of novel coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China: Covid-19. The WHO says the name was carefully chosen so as not to “refer to a geographical location, an animal, an individual or group of people.” [BBC]
  • Confirmed cases of the disease spiked dramatically on Thursday after officials in China expanded their criteria to retroactively count some cases. There are now more than 48,000 cases in China’s Hubei province alone. [WSJ / Wenxin Fan, Natasha Khan, and Chao Deng]
  • The Chinese Communist Party also removed the Hubei province party secretary, Jiang Chaoliang, on Thursday, and replaced him with a former Shanghai mayor. Chaoliang is just the latest official to be fired as the coronavirus outbreak continues. [Al Jazeera]
  • There are still a lot of unknowns with the virus, including the mortality rate for the disease and the true number of cases. Such uncertainties have complicated the global response. [Vox / Caitlin Rivers and Crystal Watson]
  • It could also have far-reaching economic repercussions, both for China and globally. [Washington Post / David J. Lynch]
  • And a Hong Kong public health expert warned earlier this week that the virus could eventually infect as much as 60 percent of the world’s population if its spread isn’t adequately controlled. [Guardian / Sarah Boseley]
Vox’s Today, Explained is celebrating its 500th episode on Thursday. Here are some of the TEx team’s favorite shows so far.

[Vox / Sean Rameswaram]

“Bloomberg didn’t care about any of this. He didn’t care about these innocent black and brown bodies. Somewhere in each barrel of good apples there was a bad one, and he was willing to spoil the whole batch to purge that rare bad one.”

[New York Times columnist Charles Blow on Mike Bloomberg’s stop-and-frisk record / NYT]

Why the sentencing of Roger Stone has thrown the United States Department of Justice into disarray

Why the sentencing of Roger Stone has thrown the Justice Department into disarray. [Spotify / Sean Rameswaram and Andrew Prokop]

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