Posted on September 15, 2016 in Action Alerts

At a time when “terrorist watch lists” have become a regular a part of public discourse - often in conjunction with the problematic “No Fly, No Buy” legislation - some leaders in Congress are working to make sure the government watch-listing process is reformed, and they need your support. 

Leaked information from the government documents shows that Arab Americans and American Muslims are acutely impacted by government watchlisting. Dearborn, Michigan, a city with just 96,0000 residents a majority of which are Arab American Muslims, is the 2nd most watch-listed city in the U.S. Dearborn is second only to New York City in the number of individuals listed on one of the government’s terrorist watch list. This striking fact along with leaked information about how the watch-listing process actually works, has raised concerns over the blatant use of profiling based on race, national origin, ethnicity, and religion not based on any credible reasonable suspicion.

Even though many people are erroneously put on a terrorist watch list, there is not a meaningful way to correct cases of mistaken identity or errors. It is a constitutional right that due process be followed before the government can deny an American citizen their rights. Because individuals placed on a watch list have their rights restricted in public and private ways - they may be denied work, pulled aside for extra screening by airport security, prevented from boarding a flight, and more – three members of Congress are stepping up to ask for reforms to how Americans can challenge their status on a watch list. While reforming the redress process is just a start, it is important that Arab Americans make their voice heard. 

There are critical national security reasons for our government to maintain watch lists of suspected terrorists, but in order to be effective watch lists must be accurate, based on sound evidence of reasonable suspicion, and there must be a navigable and transparent process by which a U.S. citizen is able to legally challenge their placement on any list that carries such consequences.

Join AAI to call on your member of Congress to join the bi-partisan effort letd by Representatives Lofgren, Dingell, and Poe to urge Department of Homeland Security Secretary Johnson to review and revise the DHS Traveler Redress Inquiry Program (DHS TRIP). 

To learn more about government watchlisting, the redress process, and how this impacts Arab Americans and American Muslims, download AAI’s flyer.