ADC Raises Concerns with Attorney General Mukasey
Washington, DC | December 7, 2007 | Today the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) participated in a meeting with Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey. ADC addressed post-9/11 policies and their impact on the Arab-American and Muslim communities. ADC was represented by National Executive Director Kareem Shora during the meeting which included Julian Bond, Chairman of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP); Wade Henderson, President and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR), and officials representing the Arab American Institute (AAI), the Asian American Justice Center (AAJC), the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, and the National Urban League.
At the meeting, ADC urged the new Attorney General to advocate for the complete termination of the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS) program and to address its residual effects in coordination with DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff.
ADC provided a detailed letter to the Attorney General highlighting some of the continuing challenges associated with this “special registration” program. ADC’s letter noted that during ADC’s 2004 National Convention, Asa Hutchinson, then Undersecretary for Border and Transportation Security, Department of Homeland Security (DHS), stated that “it is our hope to completely end this special program because our long term goal is to treat everybody the same way and not based upon where you came from.”
ADC also highlighted the increased detentions of US citizens at the border and the lack of an effective redress process to verify a person‘s identity through the FBI‘s Terrorism Screening Center (TSC). ADC encouraged the Attorney General to work with FBI Director Robert Mueller in implementing a redress process available to the public in order to reduce the incidents of false-positive identifications. The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has already implemented such a process earlier in the year for its agencies.
ADC also raised the lack of data collection of hate crimes reported against Arabs and Middle Easterners through the FBI‘s annual hate crimes report. While the FBI reported a significant increase in hate crimes committed against Muslims in the United States following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, it has no public mechanism to-date that provides the rate of hate crimes reported based on perceived ethnicity against Arabs and Middle Easterners.
Finally, ADC raised the continuing 22-year old FBI investigation and $1-Million reward concerning the 1985 terrorist attack that killed Alex Odeh; ADC‘s Southern California Regional Director. Odeh was murdered on October 11, 1985, when a powerful pipe bomb exploded as he unlocked and opened the door of the ADC Regional office in Santa Ana, California. In addition to killing Odeh, the bomb injured several other victims. For more information see: https://www.adc.org/index.php?id=2979
Other issues raised at the meeting included: civil rights enforcement and responsibilities of the Civil Rights Division; voting rights issues; the review of the immigration court system; ethnic and racial profiling; and interrogation techniques and torture.