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Congresswoman Grace Meng

Representing the 6th District of New York

Meng Demands Investigation and Justice for Adnan Asif Parveen

Mar 1, 2019
Press Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY) sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen demanding an investigation into the reported treatment of Adnan Asif Parveen by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
 
Meng’s letter comes in response to a story published on HuffPost that detailed CBP’s treatment of Mr. Parveen. Despite having a legal work permit, Mr. Parveen—who is a Muslim—was detained by CBP officers in Texas and given only pork to eat.
 
Meng’s letter urges Secretary Nielsen to provide information on CBP’s policies, particularly as they pertain to the treatment of individuals in their custody, and how policies are enforced.
 
“When I read about Asif’s story, I was filled with disgust and rage over his treatment by CBP officers,” said Meng. “People should be treated with dignity and respect and CBP’s actions fall well short of that. Their treatment of Asif was not just un-American, but it was inhumane. Secretary Nielsen must provide answers about CBP’s treatment of Asif. DHS can’t run away from responsibility and I look forward to hearing from Secretary Nielsen.”  
 
A copy of Meng’s correspondence can be viewed here and the text of the letter is below.
 
----------------------------------------------------
 
March 1, 2019
 
The Honorable Kirstjen Nielsen
Secretary
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Washington, D.C. 20528
 
Dear Secretary Nielsen:
 
I write today to express my concern and outrage after reading Huffington Post’s article on U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) treatment of Adnan Asif Parveen.[1] According to the Huffington Post, CBP officers arrested and detained Adnan Asif Parveen for six days, despite having a legal work permit. Furthermore, despite CBP officers’ knowledge of his Muslim beliefs, he was given only pork to eat for a week.[2] I am calling for an investigation into this matter.
 
CBP’s agency-wide policy, titled National Standards on Transport, Escort, Detention, and Search, states that CBP employees must treat all individuals with dignity and respect, including respect for individual religious beliefs.[3] Furthermore, the same policy states that food should never be withheld as punishment and officers/agents should remain cognizant of a detainee’s religious or other dietary restrictions. If accurate, the details highlighted in Huffington Post’s article about CBP’s treatment of Adnan Asif Parveen demonstrates CBP’s failure to exercise and abide by its own policy, standards set forth to govern CBP’s interaction with detained individuals. 
 
I wish to know the following information:
  1. What exactly led to Adnan Asif Parveen’s detention and the reported mistreatment he received while in CBP custody?
  2. How many detained individuals with religious or dietary restrictions are currently in CBP custody?
  3. What protocol is in place to ensure that religious and dietary restrictions of detained individuals are met?
  4. How does CBP address complaints of employee misconduct when it comes to mistreatment of detained individuals? 
     
    As a member of the Department of Homeland Security subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee, I eagerly await your prompt response.
     
    Sincerely,
     
    Grace Meng
    Member of Congress
 
 

[1] Roque Planas, “Border Patrol Fed Pork To Muslim Detainee For Six Days,” Huffington Post, February 27, 2019, https://www.huffpost.com/entry/border-patrol-fed-pork-to-muslim-detainee-for-six-days_n_5c76f474e4b0d3a48b5627a2
[2] Ibid.                                  
[3] U.S. Customs and Border Protection, National Standards on Transport, Escort, Detention, and Search, October 2015, https://www.cbp.gov/sites/default/files/assets/documents/2017-Sep/CBP%20TEDS%20Policy%20Oct2015.pdf