By NAOMI FEINSTEIN
Customs and Border Protections created a secret list of reporters, lawyers and activists who should be questioned when crossing the into the United States from Mexico at the San Diego checkpoint last year.
According to NBC News, at least 21 people confirmed they have been questioned as they crossed the border. They were told they were being questioned and must give up access to their cellphones due to an ongoing national security investigation.
The individuals featured on the list traveled with the caravans from Central America hoping to seek asylum in the United States. Many of these activists and journalists are speaking out against the U.S. government for singling them for unwarranted extra questioning.
However, officials deny targeting “journalists for inspection based on their occupation or their reporting.” They claim many of these individuals may have connections to the assaults staged against CBP agents back in November.
Some fear that this will have a chilling effect on reporters as well as activists from doing their jobs since those who report on immigration and provide help to asylum-seekers are the individuals being targeted on this list.
Border officials do have the right to question an individual they suspect committed a crime, however, it is widely inappropriate to detain someone based on his or her occupation and directly violates his or her First Amendment rights.
Reporters need to continue telling this story and questioning officials to get the bottom of this matter because the vague response from officials of conducting a national security organizations does not suffice.