Arab American, Nahla Kayali, Honored by White House as “Champion of Change”

Posted by on March 28, 2014 in Blog

Nahla Kayali has an incredible story. A first generation Palestinian immigrant who came to the U.S. from Syria, she first came to the U.S. when she was 16 shortly after getting married. Today, Nahla has earned herself a prestigious recognition from the White House as one of the Cesar E. Chavez “Champions of Change.”

Nahla jokes about having learned English while watching American soap operas, but she learned the language well enough to teach it to other immigrants, and community service soon became her life passion. She founded...

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Damon Shadid Looks to Make History as First Arab American Seattle Municipal Court Judge

Posted by on February 13, 2014 in Blog

If elected in November, Seattle attorney and community leader Damon Shadid will become the first Arab American to serve as Seattle Municipal Court Judge. The brother of late Arab American and Pulitzer Prize-winning Journalist Anthony Shadid, Damon Shadid is proud of his Lebanese heritage and touts how his background has shaped his passion for serving poor and under privileged communities on his campaign website. It was Anthony’s sacrifice and courage, as well as Damon’s own commitment to bridging the gap between the judicial system and Seattle’s diverse community that have inspired him to pursue a position...

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Three Strikes, No Outs

Posted on February 05, 2014 in Countdown
Talk of the demise of what is easily rated as one of Washington’s most prominent lobby groups is nothing new and not surprisingly untrue. However, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee has swung and missed on three issues they have been publicly pushing for over the past year. First, U.S. public opposition and Obama’s reversal of military involvement in Syria succeeded in trumping AIPAC’s calls for U.S. missile strikes.
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The Principle Obstacle to Immigration Reform

Posted by on February 04, 2014 in Blog
By Firas Suqi Spring Intern, 2014 Immigration is one of the few issues that both Democrats and Republicans publicly agree is in need of urgent action. While both parties have reached the conclusion that something needs to be done about immigration, the number of successful resolutions addressing immigration reform has continually evaded the agenda of Republican lawmakers over the last few years. This issue has affected separated Arab American families, who continue to wait in anticipation that immigration reform will grant visas to their family members and loved ones overseas.
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Statement by AAI President James Zogby on Obama’s State of The Union Address

Posted by on January 29, 2014 in Blog
This President has faced unprecedented challenges from a Congress that would not work with him to address critical issues at home and abroad. Given this context, I am proud that he didn't back down on his values and his commitments. The President took a strong stand on closing the income gap and insuring equal pay for women. He reaffirmed his commitment to fight for comprehensive immigration reform, made a clear case demonstrating how the ACA was working and has already benefited millions of Americans, and pressed Congress to close Guantanamo and support foreign policy initiatives that emphasize negotiations over confrontation.
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Fasting for Immigration Reform

Posted by on December 12, 2013 in Blog

By Maha Sayed Legal Fellow

On Thursday evening, immigration advocates will end their fast in support of immigration reform. Since November 12, a group of faith, immigrant rights and labor leaders participated in the “Fast for Families” on the National Mall, a grassroots campaign designed to pressure House Republicans to take an immediate vote on a comprehensive immigration reform bill. H.R. 15, the companion House bill to the Senate immigration reform bill that passed in June, would tighten border security and provide a path to citizenship for the 11.5 million undocumented immigrants currently working and living in...

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Still Searching for a Strategy

Posted on November 20, 2013 in Countdown
The Daily Beast reported on more infighting between top Obama Administration officials on US policy in the Arab world. The flavor of the week is the United States’ policy on Egypt; not only are U.S. administration officials clashing over foreign policy, but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seeking to widen rifts between world powers, and between members of the United States Congress, over an Iranian nuclear deal; you may have missed it, but last week the Palestinian negotiation team engaged in US-brokered talks with the Israelis resigned.
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Boehner Rejects Negotiations on Senate Immigration Reform Bill

Posted by on November 14, 2013 in Blog
By Maha Sayed Legal Fellow Speaker John Boehner on Wednesday said the House of Representatives will not consider the bipartisan immigration bill that passed the Senate, and will therefore eliminate any prospects for comprehensive immigration reform to pass Congress this year. In his statement, Boehner made clear that the House leadership has “no intention of ever going to conference on the Senate bill,” presenting a major obstacle for immigration reform advocates and pushing the issue to 2014.
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AAI Hosts Immigration Town Hall with Congressman Chris Van Hollen

Posted by on October 28, 2013 in Blog

By Isaac Levey Legal Fellow

On Sunday afternoon, AAI teamed with the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) to host a town hall on immigration reform with a leading Member of Congress; an important White House adviser; and an immigration lawyer and advocate. The event, entitled The Road to Immigration, provided a very helpful and informative discussion about one of the most important issues facing both the Arab American community and the United States as a whole: how to reform our broken immigration system and still remain true to the promise of this country as...

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A Defeat for State Anti-Immigrant Legislation

Posted by on October 18, 2013 in Blog
By Maha Sayed Legal Fellow Louisiana Supreme Court Strikes Down Anti-Immigrant Law The Louisiana Supreme Court on Tuesday struck down a state law that criminalized non-citizens for driving without proof that they are lawfully present in the United States. The law, Section 14:100.13, punished immigrants for failing to carry documentation establishing their lawful status while operating a vehicle, and carried a sentence of up to one year of prison with hard labor and a one thousand dollar fine. The Louisiana legislature enacted the law in 2002 in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, as a part of a series of laws intended to prevent terrorism on the highways. However, the law has been heavily criticized for its systematic racial profiling of the Latino community, and for failing to further the stated purpose of preventing acts of terrorism.
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