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Photo: Paul J. Richards/AFP via Getty Images

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) on Monday called reports that dozens of Canadian and American citizens faced hours of questioning at the U.S.-Canada border because of their Iranian heritage over the weekend "deeply alarming." Customs and Border Protection denies the allegations.

Driving the news: Civil rights group the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said it's been "assisting more than 60 Iranians and Iranian-Americans of all ages who were detained at length and questioned at the Peace Arch Border Crossing in Blaine, Wash."

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

The allegations: "Those detained reported that their passports were confiscated and they were questioned about their political views and allegiances," CAIR said in a statement Sunday.

  • Sam Sadr, an Iranian-Canadian who traveled to the U.S. using his Canadian passport, told CTV Monday he saw "dozens of other Iranians held, including children" while he was stopped by agents at a U.S. border crossing in British Colombia for eight hours.
  • At a CAIR Washington news conference Monday, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) said there was a clear link to the killing of Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani last Friday and President Trump's subsequent action on Iran and the border delays.
"Clearly, many people were being processed through and the only people that seemed to be held aside and detained in some form or fashion were people of Iranian heritage."

What they're saying: Customs and Border Protection says it does not discriminate against anyone's religion, race, ethnicity or sexual orientation. It said in a statement Sunday, "Social media posts that CBP is detaining Iranian-Americans and refusing their entry into the U.S. because of their country of origin are false. Reports that DHS/CBP has issued a related directive are also false."

  • Wait times at Blaine increased to an average of two hours on Saturday evening, though this was higher for some travelers, up to four hours, because of increased volume and reduced staff during the holiday season, according to CBP.
  • A CBP spokesman told Axios Monday there's a difference between a secondary inspection and detention. "It is possible that Canadian Iranians underwent secondary inspections," he said.

The big picture: CBP says it has stepped up procedures at its ports of entry for security based on the current threat environment.

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Go deeper: "Axios on HBO" sits down with top CBP official

Go deeper

Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin testifies before a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Sept. 29 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Olivier Douliery/Pool via Getty Images

The state of Oklahoma filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration on Thursday in an attempt to block the enforcement of its vaccine mandate for federal employees.

Why it matters: The move comes one day after Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin denied Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt's (R) request to exempt the state's National Guard from the mandate.

Congress passes stopgap funding bill to avert shutdown

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Senate voted 69-28 to pass legislation Thursday night to fund the government until February 18.

Why it matters: The move staves off a government shutdown but lawmakers still have a busy month ahead: Congress needs to work out a deal to raise the debt ceiling in a few weeks and Democrats are trying to pass their behemoth social spending bill.

DiDi to delist from NYSE under Chinese govt pressure

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Chinese ride-hail giant DiDi said it will delist from the New York Stock Exchange, following a Chinese government crackdown on foreign listings.

Why it matters: This reflects how geopolitical tensions are bleeding into the capital markets.