Posted on November 02, 2017 in Press Releases


Nov. 2, 2017

For immediate release: 

AAI Joins Rights and Immigration Allies to Stand for DACA and Diversity Visas

WASHINGTON - Today the Arab American Institute joined civil rights and immigration allies to call on the Trump Administration and members of Congress to pass and sign the bipartisan Dream Act and to preserve the diversity visa lottery system. The joint statement follows a White House meeting with Republican senators on the future of immigrant youth. Reports indicate that the President and Republicans decided to exclude a DACA fix from the must-pass year-end spending bill. 

In addition to the joint statement shared below, AAI executive director Maya Berry issued the following:

“We owe these young people, who are American in every way but documents, including more than 1,000 Arab Americans, a solution. They have done nothing to deserve the uncertain situation they’ve been thrust into. We call on Congress to pass a clean Dream Act and for the President to sign it immediately. We also reiterate our support for the Diversity Visa program, which as its name indicates is designed to help those who are otherwise underrepresented in our immigration system to come to our country. Since its inception, recipients of Diversity Visas have come from all different parts of the world helping to make our country what it is today. Individuals the world over apply by the millions each year and only 50,000 are chosen, carefully vetted and finally issued visas. To close this program is wrong and like other xenophobic, anti-immigrant policies advanced by the Trump Administration, doing so would be to surrender to the worst type of political scapegoating. In times of tragedy, we must stand together and uphold the best of America, not cave to fear-mongering.”

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Founded in 1985, the Arab American Institute (AAI) is a nonprofit organization committed to the civic and political empowerment of Americans of Arab descent.  AAI provides policy, research and public affairs services to support a broad range of community activities. For more information please visit 


Joint Statement:

Civil Rights Organizations: Our Immigration Policies Must Reflect Our Nation’s Values 

November 2, 2017

For Immediate Release

WASHINGTON — Following President Trump’s meeting with Republican senators to discuss the future of immigrant youth who have been thrust into legal limbo, civil rights and immigration leaders from across the country unite to call on President Trump and policymakers on both sides of the aisle to adopt inclusive immigration policies instead of racially divisive ones. The organizations issued the following joint statement: 

“Congress has an opportunity to do something positive for the country by passing a bipartisan Dream Act by the end of this year. Doing so would allow young immigrants to finally be recognized as Americans on paper, allowing them to more fully contribute to their families, communities, and the country they call home. The clock is ticking for Congress to do its job: every day, DACA recipients run the risk of losing the work authorization they need to live free from fear of deportation. 

But any solution proposed must not come at the expense of other aspiring Americans. Our communities — of many faiths, backgrounds, skin colors, and languages — are stronger because of our diverse backgrounds and communities. Rather than serve to unify the country after the tragedy in New York, the president is fear mongering to advance his xenophobic agenda. We will stand in vigorous opposition to any attempt to dilute this country’s diverse richness or keep families apart.

President Trump’s latest call for an end to the Diversity Visa program is yet another anti-immigrant proposal grounded in white nationalism. Policymakers on both sides of the aisle should know better than to try to score cheap political points by punishing an entire class of immigrants. We will not stand for more political scapegoating of immigrants or the pitting of Muslims and immigrants eligible for the diversity visa (many of whom are from Africa and the Caribbean) against Dreamers. 

In times of tragedy, more than ever, our country needs us to come together. Inclusive policies that benefit all of us — like the Dream Act — are the solutions we deserve as a country.”

The list of organizations that have signed on to the statement include:

9to5, National Association of Working Women
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)
Arab American Institute
Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC
Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles
Asian Americans Advancing Justice- Asian Law Caucus
Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Chicago
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO (APALA)
Bend the Arc Jewish Action
Black Women’s Roundtable
Center for Popular Democracy
Church World Service
Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)
Equality California
Farmworker Justice
The Forum for Youth Investment
Global Progressive Hub
Hip Hop Caucus
Hope Border Institute
Human Rights Campaign
Lambda Legal
Las Cruces CIVIC
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
League of United Latin American Citizens
League of Women Voters of the United States
Legal Aid at Work
Los Angeles LGBT Center
MPower Change
Muslim Advocates
Muslim Public Affairs Council
NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.
National Action Network
National Asian Pacific American Families Against Substance Abuse
National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum
National Bar Association
National Center for Lesbian Rights
National Center for Transgender Equality
National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development (National CAPACD)
National Council of Jewish Women
The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation
National Employment Law Project
National Hispanic Media Coalition
National Immigrant Justice Center
National Immigration Law Center
National Network for Arab American Communities
National Organization for Women (NOW)
National Partnership for Women & Families
National Urban League
National Coalition on Black Civic Participation
New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice / National Guestworker Alliance
OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates
Presbyterian Feminist Agenda Network
Pride at Work
Queens Center For Gay Seniors
Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT)
UndocuBlack Network
UnidosUS (formerly NCLR)
United We Dream
Voting Rights Forward