Posted by on June 19, 2013 in Blog
The SAFE Act, passed in the Judiciary Committee yesterday, is a misguided bill with a single-minded focus on immigration enforcement that will increase detentions and deportations and will create an environment of rampant racial profiling without addressing the fundamental flaws of our broken immigration system.
The bill was introduced in June 2013 by the Chair of the House Judiciary Immigration Subcommittee Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), with the support of the Chair of the Judiciary Committee, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA).
The Arab American Institute applauds the efforts of the Members of Congress who have been working tirelessly to...Read more
Posted by on June 18, 2013 in Blog
On Monday, the Supreme Court issued a key decision on voting rights. By a 7-2 margin, the Court said that Arizona cannot require new voters to present proof of citizenship before being added to the voting rolls. In its decision, the Court held that the Arizona requirement was “inconsistent with” the 1993 National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), which requires that states accept and use the federal form. The federal form allows applicants to mail in their registration forms, simply swearing that they are U.S. citizens eligible to vote.
The Arizona requirement was one of a spate of...Read more
Posted by on May 01, 2013 in Blog
While the US Congress continues to debate the use of drones to spy on or target US citizens, the Florida legislature has moved forward, unanimously passing a law limiting how police can use unmanned drones for surveillance. On Thursday, Governor Scott signed the bill into law, saying “We shouldn’t have unreasonable surveillance of ourselves.” The law precludes law enforcement’s use of drones without a warrant or threat of terrorist attack. It also prohibits the use of information collected by drones as evidence in court. The law’s Senate sponsor, Joe Negron, said “It’s important that, as American citizens, we...Read more
Posted by on April 24, 2013 in Blog
By Jennine Vari
Spring 2013 Intern
In March, the Florida State Senate introduced an anti-Sharia bill “Application of Foreign Law in Certain Cases,” or SB58. The Florida House version of this bill (HB 351) has already passed, and the Senate Rules Committee could vote on SB58 any day. As it stands right now, if SB58 passes the Rules Committee and gets to the Senate floor, it will likely pass the Senate.
We can’t let that happen.
Here is a bit more about SB58 and the implications it has...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
Do you remember what you wanted to be when you were in 7th seventh grade? Michelle Kalil is one of the rare people who knew exactly what she wanted to be from an early age: a lawyer and a judge. She turned her fascination with the Supreme Court and judiciary into a career in criminal law, and this past November she was elected as Duval County Judge.
Serving on the judiciary had always on been on Kalil’s mind; she spent most of her career working in the Public Defender’s Office and had recently started her own practice....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 by on December 10, 2012 in Blog
By Jennine Vari
Fall 2012 Intern
This Saturday the Patriots and Peacemakers traveling exhibit will finish its visit to Jacksonville, Florida. The exhibit was presented at the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn, Michigan from November 2011 to August 2012, but with the help of the Ramallah American Club of Jacksonville and the Salaam Club of Jacksonville, the celebration of Arab Americans in the public service sector was brought to Florida. The exhibit highlights Arab Americans of different nationalities and religions who have served in the military, Peace Corps, and Diplomatic Service. Through a collection of personal stories, photos, and...Read more
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....Read more