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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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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California: Trust Act Gets Iced

Posted by on October 05, 2012 in Blog

Gov. Jerry Brown has vetoed the Trust Act, a proposal to prevent local California law enforcement officials from detaining suspected illegal immigrants and handing them over to federal authorities, except in cases where they have been arrested on suspicion of committing a serious or violent crime.

The Trust Act was largely viewed as the first serious challenge to the federal Secure Communities program, under which all individuals arrested —not convicted— are screened for immigration status. Because communities cannot opt out of the Secure Communities program, some localities and states have sought initiatives to circumvent or limit compliance.


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The Arab American Vote: 2012

Posted on October 01, 2012 in Washington Watch

Arab Americans matter. Well integrated into all spheres of American life, Arab Americans are teachers, medical professionals, auto-workers, and first responders. In communities across the country the Arab American business community is a key to local prosperity. Arab Americans are also a bridge to their countries of origin, providing critical political and business insights into developments unfolding in the MENA region. And Arab Americans have been termed "the weak link in America's civil liberty chain" - because the rights of the community are sometimes put at risk by aggressive unconstitutional law enforcement practices. 

In an election year, in several areas...

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AAI, NNAAC Adopt New Logo for Voter Registration Day

Posted by on September 18, 2012 in Blog

The Arab American Institute (AAI) and the National Network for Arab American Communities (NNAAC) have adopted a logo for National Voter Registration Day on September 25. The Logo, designed by Nabil Ahmed Khatri, a high school student from Queens, New York with his own graphic design business, will be worn by thousands of Arab American volunteers across a number of states participating in efforts to register voters for the upcoming November elections. AAI and NNAAC are mobilizing the community by hosting a number of election-related events including town halls, GOTV efforts, and a virtual phone banking system targeting eleven key states...

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Immigration Debate Heats Up in California

Posted by on August 30, 2012 in Blog

Last Friday, the California legislature sent the newly-passed Trust Act to Gov. Jerry Brown. Detractors say the Trust Act provides shields illegal immigrants, preventing police from enforcing Immigration and Customs Enforcement requests for detention unless the immigrant in question has been charged with a serious or violent crime. 

Officials in Los Angeles, Marin, Riverside, and San Diego Counties are vocally opposed to the act. Sheriff Robert Doyle (Marin County) said “[my] gut reaction would be to ignore it. If someone comes to the county jail and he is not here lawfully, I think he should be turned over." A spokesman...

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Arab Americans at the Conventions

Posted on August 15, 2012 in Arab American Institute

Arab Americans at the Republican National Convention


Mayor Sam AbedAlternate Delegate, District 50 

Sam Abed, mayor of Escondido, CA, has been an active member of his community ever since immigrating to the United States from Lebanon in 1987. For Abed, becoming a U.S. citizen “was one of the proudest days of my life”. In 2004, Abed ran for city councilman and won. This was only the beginning of his political career. In 2010, he became mayor of Escondido. As mayor, Abed believes “we have come to a crossroads in the...

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Make Your Voice Heard: Arab American Week of Action

Posted by on July 30, 2012 in Blog

The 2012 elections are heating up, and AAI has been working to keep you informed of key election developments in your state and nationwide. Now, we need your help to ensure that the Arab American community has a voice in the lead up to November.

Join AAI and NNAAC in mobilizing Arab Americans across the country to meet with their representatives in the home district office during our Week of Action from August 13-17. Building and sustaining a relationship with your elected official is one of the most important ways to effectively advocate on your issues. Our...

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States Challenge Administration on Immigration

Posted by on July 18, 2012 in Blog

In an effort to combat the harsh immigration laws of states like Alabama and Arizona, the District of Columbia City Council recently approved legislation to limit the city’s Secure Communities program. Although each state must comply with federal immigration policy, some cities are fighting back by attempting to restrict the ability of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers to detain illegal immigrants.

Under the Secure Communities program, local law enforcement must provide fingerprints to federal immigration officials, so that ICE can detain suspects who may be in the United States illegally....

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ACCC Sponsors 18th Annual Arab Cultural Festival

Posted by on July 05, 2012 in Blog

Every October since 1995, the Arab Cultural and Community Center hosts an Arab Cultural Festival in the San Francisco Bay Area. The day-long event features all different aspects of Arab and Arab American cultural identity, including music, cuisine, and arts. It has historically been a great opportunity for people from all backgrounds to experience Arab culture in a genuine and holistic way, contravening the typical portrayal of Arabs often seen in traditional media.

This year’s festival, taking place on October 6th, will feature North African fusion band The Dunes, Palestinian Emcee Excentrik, Singer and Songwriter Naima Shalhoub, traditional...

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