Act Now: Say No to Drone Surveillance in the US

Posted by on March 18, 2013 in Blog

We’ve written a number of times about the lack of transparency around the administration’s drone policy and its constitutional implications. As the administration continues to face scrutiny for its use of drones abroad, state legislators are introducing legislation to combat the use of drone surveillance domestically. More than twenty state, have considered creating laws that would limit or ban the use of unmanned aerial systems, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

AAI, in addition to several civil rights groups, has signed on to a petition calling on the US Bureau of Customs and Border...

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Protecting the Voting Rights Act

Posted by on February 27, 2013 in Blog

Today, the Supreme Court hears oral arguments on one of the most important legislative initiatives from the Civil Rights era: Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The VRA ensures that all eligible American citizens are able to vote, unimpeded by processes or regulations— from literacy tests and English-only ballots, to moving polling places and redistricting—that could effectively disenfranchise ethnic minorities.

The VRA has been upheld a number of times over the years, upheld by the Supreme Court in 2009 and extended three times by Congress. The most recent extension, through 2031, passed in...

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ACT TODAY: Tell Your Senators the FBI Should Track Hate Crimes Against Arab Americans

Posted by on February 12, 2013 in Blog

There is a problem with the way federal law enforcement tracks hate crimes aimed at the Arab American community: they don’t.  

In the past ten years, there have been more than 800 incidents involving “violence, threats, vandalism, and arson against persons perceived to be Muslim or to be of Arab, Middle Eastern, or South Asian origin.” Federal charges have been brought in only a handful of cases, with only 45 convictions as of March 29, 2011.

Two senators are working to change that, and they’re asking their Senate colleagues to help them. You should too.

Senators Dick Durbin...

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Wow, What a Weekend!

Posted on January 23, 2013 in Countdown
We didn’t think it was possible for anyone to be more excited about the inaugural festivities this weekend than us. We hosted an Arab American inaugural celebration in our office, with Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Congressman Keith Ellison, and Arab American comedians Dean Obeidallah and Go Remy. But after seeing Joe Biden at the inaugural parade yesterday, we will definitely cede first place for the “most excited award” (not actually an award) to our most gregarious Vice President. Vice President Biden almost gave his secret service agent a heart attack when he started to literally run laps around the parade (it starts about a minute into the clip), jogging over to onlookers to shake hands. Oh, and in other news, President Obama was sworn in over the weekend and gave an inaugural address in which he laid out a progressive vision for America going forward. A couple of things the president said stood out for us, and we posted them on our Facebook page, so tell us what you think.
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Johnny Khamis Sworn in as San Jose City Council Member

Posted by on January 07, 2013 in Blog

Arab Americans aren’t the only ones celebrating the appointment of Johnny Khamis as the first-ever Arab American City Council member representing the 10th district of the city of San Jose, California. Khamis’s swearing-in ceremony, which was led yesterday by San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, received prominent attention from the local San Jose news site, MercuryNews.com which lauded the newly-elected Republican for, among other things, helping San Jose to reach yet “another milestone in the growing diversity of the Bay Area's largest city.” Khamis, a financial adviser by trade and a Republican, won the swing...

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In Michigan, A Small Victory but Challenges Ahead

Posted by on December 14, 2012 in Blog

On its last day in session, the Michigan Legislature will not be voting on an “anti-Sharia” law. While it is troubling that we continue to deal with these initiatives (spearheaded by David Yerushalmi, co-founder of the American Freedom Law Center and “the man behind the anti-Sharia movement”), it is good news that the bill didn't make it to the floor.  

Thank you to everyone who talked to your representatives about this issue, but there is much work left to be done. Representative David Agema’s bill garnered 42 co-sponsors and there are other troubling cases afoot. ...

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Update: Khamis (CA) and Mosallam (MI) win their races

Posted by on November 08, 2012 in Blog

Two more Arab Americans can now add their names to yesterday’s list  of winning candidates.

In California, Johnny Khamis (left) narrowly won a seat on the San Jose City Council over Robert Braunstein. The election was too close to call on Tuesday night, so Khamis, Braunstein, and their respective campaigns waited anxiously on Wednesday for absentee ballots to be counted. Khamis defeated Braunstein by just one vote in a six-candidate primary in June, so the close November election was unsurprising. A last-minute endorsement from San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, however, may have given Khamis...

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ICE Operation Angers Detroit Community

Posted by on October 22, 2012 in Blog

An Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) operation in Detroit last week has produced a strong backlash after immigration officials detained two undocumented immigrants in front of their children’s schools. Jorge Hernandez and Hector Orozco Villa were followed by ICE agents as they drove their children to class, and were detained blocks from the school buildings.

The operation and subsequent community outcry underscores the tense and complex relationship between community members, immigration officials, and Obama administration directives. ICE agents had

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Voter Intimidation: Be on the Lookout

Posted by on October 10, 2012 in Blog

A Texas- based group, True the Vote, plans to mobilize millions of poll watchers around the country. But some fear that its real intention is to intimidate minority voters. Their fears were confirmed last month when True the Vote’s national election coordinator told poll watchers that their aim should be to make for voters feel “like [you’re] driving and seeing the police following you.”

The organization, which has openly stated its intention to oust President Obama, has been the subject of media investigations regarding its attempts to purge voter rolls across the country....

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With Elections on the Horizon, Arab Americans Have Much to Be Proud Of

Posted by on October 08, 2012 in Blog

As we head into the 2012 elections, it is important for the community to know that our voice counts and that we can make a difference this election. In a number of ways, we already have. The Arab American community has worked tirelessly in many states throughout the nation to register new voters and become more integrated into the political process. Today, not only are Arab Americans voting in record numbers, they are helping to influence the outcome of races like never before. In Paterson, New Jersey we saw how organized Arab American community...

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