ADC Legislative Update: June 2016

ADC Meets with 70 Congressional Offices in the Past Month

Secures Introduction of Consumer Protection Amendment on Airlines, Due Process Guarantee Amendment, and Freedom of Religion Act

Washington, DC | | June 14th, 2016 – In the past month, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) actively worked with Congressional Members on both the Senate and House side, meeting with 70 Congressional offices to promote bi-partisan policy changes that protect the rights of Arab Americans and prospective immigrants of Arab heritage.

ADC’s legislative advocacy has produced many impactful results and assisted in changing the political narrative on key issues that affect civil and human rights. For example, ADC is working to combat the discriminatory removal of passengers off commercial airlines, indefinite detention of U.S. citizens without due process, anti-immigrant and Islamophobia rhetoric, and discriminatory bills that subject Arabs to different treatment solely based on identity.

On June 9, 2016, a bi-partisan coalition of Senators (Lee, Paul, and Feinstein) introduced the Due Process Guarantee Amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act. Since June 2015, ADC has worked closely with Sen. Feinstein’s office on addressing the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens without due process under the guise of national security. ADC will continue to work closely with Senator Feinstein, Senator Hirono, and our allies that oppose racial profiling, bigotry and discrimination in any form to push this legislation forward. ADC has been pushing this policy with Congressional offices as part of our Korematsu campaign, beginning with our official request to the Solicitor General in March 2014 to repudiate the Japanese internment cases of World War II.

On May 24, 2016, Representative Honda introduced a Consumer Protection Amendment to the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (T-HUD) appropriations bill in full committee. ADC worked closely with Rep. Honda’s office in drafting the Consumer Protection amendment, which requires airlines to report to the U.S. Department of Transportation the number of passengers removed off planes and the reason for their removal. ADC also did intensive outreach to the House T-HUD subcommittee members and the House Appropriations Committee. On June 6, 2016 due to our efforts of bring this issue to political light, the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus sent a request to major airline conglomerate American Airlines demanding information on passenger removals and next policy steps to prevent such discriminatory removals in the future.

On May 18, 2016, Representatives Beyer, Holmes Norton, Ellison, Crowley, Schakowsky, Honda, McCollum, and Carson introduced the Freedom of Religion Act of 2016. ADC endorsed the Act and is working with key members of Congress to get it passed. The Act would prohibit the use of religious litmus tests as a means to ban immigrants, refugees, and international visitors from entering the United States. The introduction of this Act is a testament to ADC’s education and advocacy work to welcome refugees and visitors to the US. ADC opposed anti-refugee and anti-travel bills including HR 4038 “SAFE Act” and HR 5203 “Visa Integrity and Security Act”. ADC voiced support for the Equal Protection in Travel Act (S.2449/H.R.4830) and submitted testimony to the Judiciary and Homeland Security committees for legislation markup.

ADC also opposes the government’s discriminatory “Countering Violent Extremism” (CVE) programs and is working to secure civil rights and civil liberties protections in pending legislation, such as S.2418 “CVE in Social Media Act” and S.2522 “Community Partnership Act”. On June 6, 2016, ADC National President Samer Khalaf’s spoke at the White House Roundtable on Bullying and Harassment in Schools, voicing the issues that Arab American students face. ADC will continue this work as part of our mission to promote mutual understanding and protect the civil rights of Arab-Americans.

Click here to participate in ADC’s June 29 Community Conference Call on CVE programs.

*State Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) Updates

On June 3, 2016, ADC sent a demand letter for a new hearing on the Anti-BDS New Jersey Assembly Bill A925 to Chairman Singleton and Vice Chairman Conaway. On June 7, 2016, ADC issued a statement condemning New York Governor Andrew Cuomo for issuing an anti-BDS Executive Order that suppresses freedom of speech and expression. ADC also issued an action alert calling on ADC members to contact Governor Cuomo. On June 10, 2016 ADC sent an official condemnation letter to New York Governor Cuomo on his anti-BDS Executive Order 157. ADC continues to work to combat these oppressive First Amendment bills nationwide.

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