On Thursday, Empire Magazine's James Dyer stated in a Twitter thread that he was stopped by a customs official while arriving at Los Angeles International Airport, aggressively interrogated about his journalistic career, and accused of being "fake news":
Wow. Just... wow. Just went through LAX immigration. Presented my journalist visa and was stopped by the CBP agent… https://t.co/kF5oAK7hUL— James Dyer (@James Dyer) 1566508459.0
He wanted to know if I’d ever worked for CNN or MSNBC or other outlets that are “spreading lies to the American peo… https://t.co/h80w9gv5lR— James Dyer (@James Dyer) 1566508460.0
Apparently the only truth now comes from YouTube and the president. All this said under a CBP sign that says “we ar… https://t.co/ku6jUvsARA— James Dyer (@James Dyer) 1566508461.0
He let me go after I said that I was just here to write about Star Wars, and would keep the fake news about that to… https://t.co/jZONNGVU6l— James Dyer (@James Dyer) 1566508462.0
The fact that I had been watching Years And Years on the plane made it particularly poignant! This isn’t news but t… https://t.co/tG3O20uGG2— James Dyer (@James Dyer) 1566508941.0
Dyer added that the officer made no attempt to physically detain him, but simply harassed him during a routine paperwork and fingerprint check.
This sort of treatment is not a one-off incident. The Department of Homeland Security is taking an increasingly hostile attitude toward journalists, often interrogating and detaining them at border checkpoints, and sometimes even asking whether they support President Donald Trump. In May, customs agents detained Intercept reporter Seth Harp at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport while he was returning from Mexico City, and searched his belongings without a warrant.