DOJ Engages in Unconstitutional Ethnic Discrimination
The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) is strongly against the recent announcement made by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) instituting a new plan which can only be categorized as systematic ethnic profiling and discrimination based sloley on national origin. The DOJ identified about 6,000 young men of Arab origin who have ignored deportation orders. The DOJ has decided to make the arrest and removal of those young men the highest priority among efforts to locate hundreds of thousands of foreign nationals who have defied such rulings.
The plan to give priority to a group of Arab and Muslim men over other foreign nationals is highly disturbing, smacks of outright unconstitutional discrimination, and is yet another assault on civil liberties. It is important to note that the vast majority of people ignoring deportation orders are Hispanics from Latin America. Justice officials, including Attorney General John D. Ashcroft, have repeatedly denied that ethnicity plays a role in their anti-terrorism strategies. However, the DOJ has constantly initiated programs, such as the program of “voluntarily” interviewing 5,000 young men from Arab countries based solely on their gender, age, and national origin, and the scrutiny of visa applications from young Arab men which clearly point to a disturbing and evergrowing practice of unconstitutional ethnic profiling.
Although there are more than 300,000 foreign nationals who have remained in the country illegally after they were ordered deported by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), the DOJ has decided to focus on 6,000 young men solely based on their ethnicity. The DOJ further announced that the names of the 6,000 young men will be entered into the national FBI crime database. This practice confuses the terrorism criminal investigation, which ADC is in complete support of, with an ethnic roundup of individuals who have violated their immigration status.
On October 25, 2001, INS Commissioner James W. Ziglar met with ADC officials and a group of immigration attorneys and stated, “The INS will not be involved in anything that looks like a sweep, a round-up, or a general warrant proceeding.” ADC urges Commissioner Ziglar and Attorney General Ashcroft to maintain their commitments against national origin discrimination and ethnic profiling.