Abramson_border stop

Photojournalist pulled into secondary screening at border

February 22, 2019

Mark Abramson, a freelance photojournalist, was pulled into secondary screening by U.S. border officials while returning from Mexico on Jan. 5.

Abramson, a U.S. citizen, told the Committee to Protect Journalists that border agents looked through his belongings, including his notebook, at the El Chaparral port of entry at San Diego, California.

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection official then brought Abramson into a separate room, where he was asked to leave his bag and phone behind. The Intercept reported that in there, he was questioned for about 30 minutes about assignments and payments he received as a freelancer. The official also asked a series of questions related to the migrant caravan, including whether Abramson knew “who is stirring up stuff in the camp” or of groups helping the migrants.

Abramson told CPJ he was disturbed by the line of questions. “I’m not an informant, my job is to inform the public,” he said.

CBP did not respond to a request for comment.

— The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker catalogues press freedom violations in the United States. Email tips to [email protected]

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