By Steve Neavling
When President Trump’s travel ban went into effect in late January, Custom and Border Protection employees directed personnel at airports to ignore members of Congress and treat lawyers with suspicion, according to a new report.
Ahead of the ban, Homeland Security officials ordered airport staff to treat lawyers as through they were “protesters” and to ignore members of Congress, documents obtained by the Daily Beast and the James Madison Project show.
Congressional members expressed shock.
“I’m extremely troubled that CBP [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. “We suspected as much at the time, but it’s jarring to see it in black and white. I’ll be seeking more information from CBP on this matter.”
In a Jan. 28 email, a CBP officials forbid employees from interacting with 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, on Jan. 28. “Please make sure your subordinate Port Directors are following this direction. Please report any such requests to acting AC[REDACTED] from Congressional Affairs. Thank you.”
During protests at airport, CBP refused to answer questions from Congress about how many people were detained.
There are also questions whether all those detained at the airport had access to immigration lawyers.