On Monday, Gov. Jay Inslee issued a statement condemning the hours-long detainment of dozens of Iranian-Americans at the Peace Arch Canadian-U.S. border crossing at Blaine over the weekend.
“This is wrong and rife with constitutional and moral problems. No one should be treated differently due to where they come from, how they look or what language they speak,” said Inslee. “What Americans endured over the weekend in Blaine is unacceptable. This will not stand in Washington state, and we will continue to push for answers to ensure that it does not happen again.”
More than 60 travelers were stopped by federal agents and their passports withheld for additional questioning about their political views and allegiances, some for as long as 10 hours according to The New York Times.
“By all accounts, this is detention, regardless of whether the waiting area has bars on the windows,” said Inslee.
The governor extended further blame toward the Trump Administration’s “never-ending vilification of our immigrant populations” amid what he called the President’s shirked responsibility to national security that helped result in the dismantling of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
“Rather than making us more safe, his unilateral actions increase the risk to Washingtonians at home and abroad.” Inslee added that he believes there is no credibility in the denials of mistreatment issued by Customs and Border Protection over the agency’s handling of the incident. In his statement, he also invoked Executive Order 9066, signed by then President Franklin Roosevelt, authorizing the internment of 120,000 Japanese Americans in 1942.
“We can never forget that Japanese-Americans were detained in Washington state during World War II and their constitutional and civic rights were removed out of fear and hatred. This cannot become a new era of intimidation and division,” said Inslee. “I will continue to stand up for the rights and protections of all Washingtonians.”