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March 07, 2019

Chairman Thompson & Chairwoman Rice Demand Answers on Secret CBP List to Target Reporters & Lawyers at the Border

(WASHINGTON) – Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, and Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-NY), Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Border Security, Facilitation, & Operations, sent a letter to U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan to demand answers about new reports of a list CBP is using to stop, detain, question, and search reporters, attorneys, and advocates at the southern border.  In the letter, Chairs Thompson and Rice request the list, any dossiers of those on the list, and the reasons why individuals were placed on the list.
Letter excerpts:

We are writing to express our great concern about a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) list the agency is using to stop, detain, question, and search 59 reporters, attorneys, and advocates, most of whom are U.S. citizens, at the southern border.  Further, we are requesting information about this troubling practice, which raises serious legal and constitutional questions. 

The document includes photos and instructions for CBP officers to stop the 59 individuals if they cross the border, and interviews with targeted individuals confirm they are being stopped for secondary inspection.  Some individuals have even been required to allow CBP officers to search their cell phones before being released.

The appearance that CBP is targeting journalists, lawyers, and advocates, and particularly those who work on immigration matters or report on border and immigration issues, raises questions about possible misuse of CBP’s border search authority and requires oversight to ensure the protection of Americans’ legal and constitutional rights. 

Link to Letter

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Media contacts:
(Thompson) Adam Comis at 202-225-9978
(Rice) Michael Aciman at 202-225-5516