Immigration

As the country’s largest Arab American civil rights organization, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) has worked tirelessly to bring about progressive immigration reform. ADC, along with other members of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, continues to call on Congress and the administration to adopt a sustainable immigration policy that ensures dignity to immigrant families, and eliminates draconian enforcement and border policing tactics. Measures must also be adopted to eliminate immigration policies that will result in racial profiling of immigrant communities, and to abandon the inherently flawed 287(g) and “Secure Communities” programs. The new immigration policy must also ensure that prosecutorial discretion – the use of good judgment and common sense – is being applied in all immigration enforcement operations, and eliminate the excesses and abuses in immigration detention policies. Immigration remains a dominant issue for the legal department. The issues facing the Arab American community in terms of immigration are complex and cover a broad spectrum of areas. Delays in immigration petitions or applications, the threat or experience of detention or deportation, and general immigration filing assistance are among the areas in which ADC Legal has assisted clients. ADC supports immigration reforms that:

  • Provide a pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants
  • A commitment to restoring and promoting family unification
  • An end to the detention measures currently used by DHS and other agencies
  • Restoration and protection of due process rights for all immigrants
  • Measures preventing racial profiling and discrimination
  • A complete end to the discriminatory program of NSEERS
  • Full protection of the rights of immigrant workers

In March of 2014, ADC submitted proposed recommendations and comments for rulemaking to the United States Department of Homeland Security on the Immigration and Nationality Act regulations. The proposed recommendations and comments for rulemaking were: 1) the right to appeal termination of refugee status prior to finality of termination status; and 2) prohibiting detention of stateless person beyond removal period and requiring the release and/or parole of such stateless persons. ADC also provided a statement for the record in the Senate hearing on January 7, 2014 entitled “The Syrian Refugee Crisis.” In the statement, ADC urged the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights to explore all possible measures to better address the Syrian refugee crises and grave humanitarian situation in Syria. ADC also explained that Palestinian refugees have been detrimentally affected by the conflict in Syria. ADC urged the US to take proactive steps in responding to the Syrian refugee crisis, such as accepting more refugees and offering more opportunities for asylum. ADC continues to call on the Arab American community to take action and to encourage Congress and the Administration to pass comprehensive immigration reform.

In May 2016, ADC endorsed the Freedom of Religion Act (FOR). This legislation is a strong statement that Congress will stand up for religious freedom, and will not give in to Donald Trump’s xenophobic and anti-Muslim rhetoric.

President Obama’s Immigration Accountability Executive Actions

ADC strongly supports President Obama’s Immigration Accountability Executive Actions as legal and necessary to provide essential immigration reform. When President Obama announced the executive actions in November 2014, ADC applauded the executive actions as “a historic step aimed at fixing the country’s immigration system.” The Immigration Accountability Executive Actions provide important options for Arab immigrants nationwide, including the ability to obtain work authorization, and ensure that our community members can apply for these protections and not live in fear of deportation. These executive actions are particularly crucial in light of Congress’ failure to pass substantive immigration reform. Since President Obama issued the executive actions in November 2014, not only has Congress failed to act to pass substantive immigration reform, but Texas and 25 other states have sued the administration in an attempt to block these essential executive actions on immigration. On February 16, 2015, the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Texas issued an Order of Temporary Injunction to halt the implementation of Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and Expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).While the federal court order temporarily blocked some of the key immigration reforms, the order does not affect the existing DACA and individuals eligible under the existing DACA requirements. Individuals can still request an initial grant of DACA or  a renewal of DACA pursuant to the guidelines established in 2012. The federal district court’s order also does not affect the implementation of immigration enforcement priorities as set by President Obama’s execution actions. The priorities established in the Department of Homeland Security memorandum entitled “Policies for the Apprehension, Detention and Removal of Undocumented Immigrants” remain in full force and effect.

Click here to view the ADC Fact Sheet on the Executive Action on Immigration After the Texas District Court Decision.

Prisoner & Detainee Matters

Arab and Arab American detainees and prisoners, held in prisons and immigration detention centers, continue to face discrimination and abuse. Common complaints allege the denial of religious accommodations, which ADC addresses directly with the Bureau of Prisons within DOJ. A common issue affecting immigration detainees is the proximity of the detention facility to the detainee’s family. Detainees are often transferred to different states, thus making it extremely difficult for the family to visit; and, often separates the detainee from his or her attorney. ADC has been successful in obtaining the release of individuals detained for non-criminal immigration violations, and has worked closely with DHS to ensure that families are not separated. ADC has raised concerns with DHS and the Federal Bureau of Prisons regarding Constitutional violations of the First Amendment right to exercise one’s religion and religious accommodations.

ADC Press Releases on Immigration Reform:

Federal Court Issues Order to Block Crucial Executive Actions on Immigration President Obama Takes Action on Immigration Reform Immigration Reform: Let’s get it done. It’s time.

Coalition Press Releases on Immigration Reform:

Civil and Human Rights Coalition Calls on Obama to Reform Deportation Policy

Immigration Reform Sign on Letters:

Letter to President Obama Re: Immigration Enforcement Oppose TVPRA Rollback (H.R. 5230) and “No More Dreamers” Act (H.R. 5272) Letter to President Obama Re: Immigration Enforcement 11 Ways Immigration Reform Can Protect the Rights of Non-Citizens

Action Alerts on Immigration Reform:

Take action: Send a letter to your representative and urge Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform. Take Action Now: Ask Your Congressional Members To Support Immigration Reform

Related Immigration links:

ADC Fact Sheet on the Executive Action on Immigration After the Texas District Court Decision. New Procedure for Travel Related Complaints A Guide for New Immigrants: A New USCIS Publication Available in Arabic How to File a Complaint with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

End the Shame of NSEERS

How you can help stop the shame of NSEERS

The ADC Legal Department also offers counseling in selected impact cases in the area of immigration.

If you, or a family member, have questions about immigration, please call the ADC Legal Department at 202-244-2990 for more information. You can also send an email to legal@adc.org.

Applications for Temporary Protected Status and Asylum:

ADC assists Arab immigrants in filing applications for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Asylum.

Click here to report delays in applications for TPS and Asylum to ADC