Custom and Border Patrol Ordered to Ignore Congress During Travel Ban

Custom and Border Patrol has been ordered to ignore congressmen and handle lawyers’ calls as if they are protests.

In January, Trump signed an executive order which restricted travel from Muslim countries while also suspending the visas of new refugees. A series of court orders followed the travel ban, seeking to block it.

According to the Daily Beast, Homeland Security officials have ordered staff to consider lawyers suspicious and disregard members of Congress.

Members of Congress say they are shocked by these orders. 

“I’m extremely troubled that [Customs and Border Protection] employees would be instructed by superiors to ignore Congressional representatives trying to do their job, especially under such circumstances,” said Sen. Cory Booker, a New Jersey Democrat. “I’ll be seeking more information from CBP on this matter.”

In an email sent from January, a CBP official wrote that employees were forbidden from speaking to members of Congress.

“As stated on the call earlier today, you and your staff are NOT to engage with the media or Congressional representatives at this time,” emailed Todd Owen, the executive assistant commissioner of CBP’s Office of Field Operations.

After the Muslim travel ban went into effect airports around the country went into complete chaos. Thousands of protestors filled into the airports with signs, and patriotic gear. Lawyers were also present, hauling laptops into baggage claim ares in efforts to prevent travelers from being deported or signing away their visas.

Members of Congress also demanded that CBP officials tell them how many people were being detained, however CBP refused to communicate.

Hassan Ahmad, an immigration lawyer who protested at Dulles Airport said, “The directives to disengage with Congressmen, blocking their oversight, is huge, and yet another example of an assault on separation of powers and our democracy.”

According to NY Daily News, last month, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed the travel ban to go in effect with exceptions for people with “bona fide relationships” with someone living in the country until their cases can be heard in October.

The Tump administration agreed the ban would not apply to people with immediate relatives, spouses, fiances and in-laws in the country.

This ban will restrict travel from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

 – Contributed by Devyn Rorie

WHUR Contributor


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