ADC Monthly Legislative Update: May 2016
Washington, DC | www.adc.org | May 2, 2016 – Since 2014, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) has rededicated our organization to increasing advocacy and strong visibility on Capitol Hill. Our legislative advocacy focuses on proactive efforts to increase protections, accountability and oversight provisions in legislation that impacts the Arab American community. Our efforts also combat reactionary measures pushed forward with the rise of anti-Arab backlash, Islamophobia and xenophobia into the political sphere.
ADC has been successful in efforts to:
- Pass the Reauthorization of the Elementary & Secondary Education Actwith school accountability for English Language Learners and requirement of meaningful engagement by schools and school districts with parents
- Effectively end the USA Patriot Act’s mass collection of the private information of American citizens, including their phone records.
- Increase civil rights, civil liberties, and due process protections in the USA Freedom Act
- Stop Senate consideration of anti-refugee bill American Security Against Foreign Enemies Act (SAFE Act)
- Host a joint advocacy day on Capitol Hill with a coalition of other Arab-American organizations, including the Arab-American Institute (AAI), the Network of Arab-American Professionals (NAAP), and the National Network for Arab American Communities (NNAAC). The theme of the advocacy day was “Advocating for Justice.”
ADC is working to combat:
- Anti-refugee bills, such as the Refugee Program Integrity Restoration Act (H.R. 4731)
- Legislation that discriminates based on national origin, such as the Visa Waiver Program Terrorist Prevention in Travel Act (H.R. 158)
- Legislation and funding to programs that endorse racial and religious profiling such as the Countering Violent Extremism Act (H.R. 2899), CVE Social Media Act (S. 2418), and Community Partnership Act (S. 2369)
- Counteracting Cyber surveillance bills that aim to provide the government with broad authority to monitor, collect and share electronic information including private information.
- Legislation such as the Combating BDS Act of 2016 (S. 2531/H.R. 4514) that would suppress First Amendment rights to engage in free speech by participating in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian freedom, justice, and equality. The bill would allow state legislatures to protect Israel and its illegal settlements from BDS, a nonviolent movement intended to promote Palestinian rights.
ADC is working to push forward:
- Increased aid to refugees and admittance of refugees such as the Middle East Refugee Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act (S. 2145) and appropriations for refugee resettlement related accounts
- Passage of the Equal Protection in Travel Act (H.R.4380), which would remove the discriminatory dual nationality provision in the new Visa Waiver Program law that prohibits dual nationals from Sudan, Iran, Iraq, and Syria from traveling under the Visa Waiver Program
- Passage of the Voting Rights Advancement Act (H.R. 2867/S.1659), which would restore the voting rights protections that were removed in the Shelby County v. Holder and led to states enacting stricter voter id laws, redrawing voter district lines, ending early voting, ending same day voter registration and preregistration for 17 year olds, and moving and/or closing voting locations in communities of color. It would restore the Department of Justice’s power intervene and stop discriminatory laws before they are implemented, particularly in states and localities that have a history of discrimination.
- Passage of the End Racial Profiling Act (H.R. 1933), which would prohibit any law enforcement agent or agency from engaging in racial profiling. The law would including training on racial profiling issues as part of Federal law enforcement training, and would also grant the U.S. or an individual injured by racial profiling the right to obtain relief.
- Enactment into law the FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) Oversight and Implementation Act of 2016. FOIA reform is necessary to increase the public access to information on government activities and support a more transparent open government.
ADC is proud to announce our monthly legislative updates to our membership and community. This is our first monthly legislative update.
Below are the offices we have met with recently to address the aforementioned legislative issues, including the discriminatory dual-nationality provisions in the Visa Waiver Program, admittance and resettlement of refugees, and the Countering Violent Extremism Programs: