Posted by on March 25, 2013 in Blog
Michigan State Representative Democrat Rashida Tlaib is poised to do big things. She’s already had an impressive legislative career and boasts a solid record of proven advocacy on behalf of her diverse constituency in Southwest Detroit and for the state of Michigan. To Arab Americans on both sides of the aisle, Tlaib is a source of pride. She's always been an outspoken supporter of Arab American civil rights and political participation. In the Michigan Democratic Party, Tlaib is also well-known. During the Democratic National Convention, Party chair Mark Brewer picked...Read more
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...Read more
Posted by on March 15, 2013 in Blog
By Jennine Vari
Spring 2013 Intern
In 1974, Sam Salamey was just 15 when he arrived in Dearborn from Lebanon and began working to help support his family. This past November, Salamey was elected as a 19th District Court Judge, becoming the first Arab American judge in Dearborn.
Salamey’s interest in law began during college when he took a few courses in Criminal Justice that resonated with him. The first job he took was with the Dearborn Police Department as a community relations officer, and served in that capacity for 2 years before going to law school....Read more
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...Read more
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...Read more
Posted on January 23, 2013 in Countdown
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...Read more
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. ...Read more
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...Read more
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.