According to AFP, dozens of Iranians and Iranian-Americans have faced delays and hours-long interrogations at the US border, with many of them being barred from entering the country.
Muslim advocacy group the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said that it had helped over 60 detainees who were detained over the weekend and asked about their political views at Washington state's border with Canada.
One of the detainees, 24-year-old Crystal, said that she had been stopped at the Peace Arch Border Crossing in Blaine, Washington, and questioned for more than 10 hours before being allowed to leave on Sunday, media reported.
"These reports are extremely troubling and potentially constitute illegal detentions of United States citizens", said Masih Fouladi, executive director of CAIR's Washington chapter. "We are working to verify reports of a broad nationwide directive to detain Iranian-Americans at ports of entry so that we can provide community members with accurate travel guidance."
Customs and Border Patrol officials have stressed that the travelers of Iranian origin were detained not on the grounds of their religion, race or ethnicity.
"Social media posts that CBP is detaining Iranian-Americans and refusing their entry into the US because of their country of origin are false", CBP spokesperson Michael Friel said as quoted by AFP.
He outlined that reports on the existence of a Department of Homeland Security and CBP joint directive to deny Iranian-Americans entrance to the United States do not match reality.
An unnamed security official said, as quoted by the AFP news agency, that the delays at the US border were related to CBP "operating with an enhanced posture at its ports of entry to safeguard our national security".
The detentions and interrogations of Iranians and the US citizens of Iranian origin have taken place amid rising tensions between the US and Iran after killing the head of the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Qasem Soleimani near Baghdad international airport by a US military drone on 3 January 2020.