Posted by Guest on June 19, 2017 in Blog

Hammoud_CivilRights.jpgBy Haley Arata

As opponents of comprehensive immigration reform ratchet up their rhetoric, some law makers are stepping up and pushing back against growing xenophobia. In Michigan, Rep. Abdullah Hammoud has been quick to oppose discriminatory actions, recently proposing a pro-immigration resolution as part of the Michigan Civil Rights Expansion bill package. The package aims to extend protections to all Michigan residents and ensure that policies don’t discriminate based on place of birth.

Hammoud and fourteen other representatives have sponsored 15 separate bills or resolutions as part of the package. A number of the bills consider key issues facing Arab Americans, issues that AAI addresses such as bigotry and discriminatory registration. For example, HB 4720 prohibits the use of state or local law enforcement resources, personnel, or funds to enforce immigration laws, and HB 4725 bans state agency databases from maintaining information on individuals’ country of origin, religion, or sexual orientation. Other bills in the package include HB 4722, which prohibits schools from denying admission to, or discrimination against, students based on the immigration status of themselves or their parents.  HB 4723  would provide in-state college tuition rates for most immigrants.

Hammoud is the primary sponsor of House Resolution 18, which reminds the U.S. Congress to pursue non-discriminatory immigration policies and enforcement practices. Such provisions for policies and practices include, but are not limited to: preventing the discriminatory practice of stop and frisk, halting the creation of registries, developing curriculum for students on their constitutional and civil rights, offering tax breaks on relocation costs for municipalities resettling refugees, and other measures that help incorporate immigrants into local communities.

It is clear that Hammoud values immigrants as key members of society. “Dearborn, in particular, thrives on its cultural vibrancy and diversity in very large part due to its immigration population,” he stated. “There is no America without immigrants. The cultures and ideas from people all over the world have made our country great.”

Haley Arata is a 2017 summer intern at the Arab American Institute.