On Aug.13, ADC held a meeting with Commissioner Robert Bonner of the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Daniel Sutherland of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, regarding the disclosure of detailed information about the Arab-American community by the US Census Bureau. A representative from the Arab American Institute was also at the meeting.
At the Friday meeting, Commissioner Bonner told ADC he would be issuing a statement and enacting policy changes to reduce the likelihood of this reoccurring in the future. According the statement issued by CBP after the meeting, “CBP policies specifically prohibit the use of ethnic background, race, gender, color, or religion as a factor in determining whether to conduct a personal search at the border.” The statement also added, “Neither request, and no request at any time, asked for identification of Arabic speaking people or Arabic ancestry by zip code.” CBP maintains that it never used, shared, or retained the information provided by the US Census Bureau. To read the entire statement click here.
ADC notes that while it is unfortunate that the request was made without consideration of the effect that it would have on the Arab-American community, DHS’s response has helped to allay fears of racial profiling generated by this incident.