AAI has active profiles for 2020 Presidential candidates, which are continuously being updated with new information.
Click their images below to see where the candidates stand on core issues for Arab Americans in 2020.
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AAI tracks statements, non-statements, and the track records of each presidential candidate on the issues we care about most.
For our take on why these are the 12 issues that are most important to our community, scroll ahead or click the icon below.
The 2016 presidential election, and the 2018 midterm election- particularly the gubernatorial race in Georgia- opened many Americans eyes to the challenges facing our representative democracy. The landmark decision in Shelby County v. Holder in 2013 severely undermined the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and ongoing cases before the Supreme Court are being anxiously awaited as they rule on the constitutionality of political gerrymandering and the politicization of the 2020 Census. 2020 candidates must articulate their vision for the nuts-and-bolts future of representative democracy, including how will we ensure election integrity, voter enfranchisement, voting rights and issues like gerrymandering.
Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
As the nation reaches a critical juncture in our history, 2020 candidates will be pressed to take a stand in defense of our inalienable rights. Regression in several civil rights and civil liberties areas including voting rights, profiling, immigration, surveillance and anti-Arab and anti-Muslim bigotry cannot be tolerated. Candidates must demonstrate respect for the rights and liberties of all.
Securitization and Surveillance
Safeguarding national security is a critical priority, but accomplishing that need not come at the expense of constitutionally guaranteed civil rights and civil liberties. What role do candidates envision surveillance technologies playing in their administration policies, and will developments in technology be accompanied by adequate privacy safeguards?2020 candidates will have to articulate the balance they aim to strike between national security and unwarranted surveillance that have infringed on the rights of millions of Americans for too long.
In recent years, the United States has experienced a surge of bias-motivated violence. This nationwide escalation of hate crime has targeted various communities, including Arab Americans, and is demonstrated through official government data, media accounts, and reporting from leading civil rights and advocacy organizations. 2017 saw a 17 percent increase over 2016 FBI data and the greatest single-year increase reported since 2001, when hate crime targeting Arab Americans and American Muslims, and those perceived to be Arab or Muslim, surged in the aftermath of 9/11. 2017 hate crime data also represent the first three-year consecutive annual increase since 2001. Candidates must offer plans to prevent hate crime and to ensure better hate crime data collection and reporting.
Criminal Justice Reform
Some Arab Americans, like many impacted communities in the United States, may face challenges in their relationship with law enforcement. Racial, ethnic, and religious profiling must be addressed in addition to the militarization of police and the excessive use of force. Candidates will need to discuss their plans to address the fundamental issues underlying the fractured relationship between law enforcement agencies and the communities they are tasked with protecting.
Bigoted Speech: Instances of Condemnation and/or Use
As our community’s political power has grown, so too have bigoted attacks and mischaracterizations. Over the last decade we have observed a disturbing rise in the social and political permissibility of bigoted speech, in which candidates have employed anti-Arab and anti-Muslim bigotry, or the intimation thereof, as political tactics to earn more votes through fear mongering and misinformation. The current landscape of what is deemed acceptable speech violates basic norms of decency in the 21st century. This fraught many candidates and both political parties have the opportunity to engage, uplift, and court votes from our growing constituency by not only refraining from hateful, bigoted or dangerously generalized characterizations or assumptions about our community, but by speaking to and with the diverse constituencies Arab Americans represent in the American fabric. We will track candidates’ statements to ensure they do not engage in bigoted speech, and will hold them to account when they do.
Immigration is not a single constituency issue; it is an American issue that directly speaks to our heritage and history as a nation of immigrants. Candidates in the upcoming election will be pushed to articulate their solutions to fix (or not fix) our broken immigration system. We look for candidates to provide tangible policy suggestions to address the crises created and/or exacerbated by Trump Administration policies. Chief among these are Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) policies including the systematic separation of families and their subjection to inhumane detention, and strategies to address the needs of recipients Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) programs- including those countries-of-origin which have not been re-designated under the current administration.
NO BAN Act
The National Origin-Based Antidiscrimination for Nonimmigrants Act, “NO BAN Act”, is a historic civil rights bill that would essentially end the Muslim, Refugee and Asylum Bans and prevent discrimination based on national origin or faith in immigration. The bill repeals all the iterations of the Muslim Ban, (Executive Orders 13769 and 13780 and Presidential Proclamation 9645), as well as the Asylum Ban, (Presidential Proclamation 9822), and the Refugee Ban, (Executive Order 13815). Candidate support for the No BAN Act is thus an important indicator of values and priorities in immigration.
We are in a new phase of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, where the Trump administration has abandoned the badly managed U.S.-led peace process and replaced it with unilateral actions on key final status issues, including Jerusalem, occupation, borders and annexation of land. In addition, the Palestinian citizens of Israel have had discriminatory treatment enshrined into law with the passage of the Nation-State law. Candidates now must weigh in on this radical shift in U.S. policy, and grapple with the U.S. role in peace-making moving forward.
The current administration has done much to undermine the negotiations with Iran undertaken during the Obama administration. Under the leadership of Trump Administration officials including National Security Advisor John Bolton, talk of war with Iran has worried many in recent weeks. Presidential candidates must consider and explain whether they will support extraordinary military engagement without proper congressional authorization, or advocate for diplomatic solutions- be it through restoration of the Obama-era nuclear deal, or some other proposal.
U.S. Presence in the Arab World
Given the uninterrupted presence of American troops in the Middle East, and the importance of economic, cultural, and business ties to the region, overall regional stability is of great importance to U.S. presidents. Candidates seeking office will have to assert their strategic vision for U.S. engagement. While some might advocate for stronger U.S. leadership in determining the outcome of regional affairs and protecting U.S. interests, others might advocate for a measured approach to interference. A candidate’s overall approach to foreign policy strategy is of critical importance.
Many countries in the Arab World are experiencing military action, infighting and violent political transformations, and humanitarian crises including Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Sudan. Each nation faces a unique set of challenges, and candidates must be able to demonstrate a nuanced approach to each specific case on those bases. 2020 candidates will have to reveal how they will act to ease the plights of the peoples’ impacted by such violences, work towards political stability and make clear their stances on the appropriate role of the United States vis-a-vis these countries.