July 2016 Legislative Update: ADC Reinforces Organization as Civil Rights Pillar to Congress
Washington, DC | www.adc.org | July 25, 2016 – In the past month, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) actively worked with Congressional Members on both the Senate and House side. ADC met with over 50 Congressional offices with extensive outreach to ensure the government’s discriminatory Countering Violent Extremism programs do not discriminate against or violate the rights of all communities.
ADC was instrumental in the formation of the Fourth Amendment Congressional Caucus. ADC secured the membership of key civil rights champions including Congressman Dan Kildee, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, and Congressman John Lewis. ADC Staff Attorney Yolanda Rondon is a Steering Board Member of the Caucus. ADC’s work on the Caucus Steering Board will continue to focus on protecting our Fourth Amendment right against search and seizure. Civil liberties are part of the core of ADC’s mission and ADC has worked to make them front and center of all surveillance and privacy related initiatives or policies. Through the Caucus, we will work with representatives across party lines to lead the charge against pervasive profiling and the targeted surveillance against communities of color and activists. The Caucus is responding to the calls of millions of Americans for thoughtful policymaking, and an end to unconstitutional, warrantless privacy intrusions under the guise of security.
ADC has also fought to restore privacy as a foundational civil liberty by challenging two troubling surveillance policies. The first is Senator John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) amendment (S. 4787) to the Senate version of the Commerce, Justice, Science spending bill. The amendment would substantially expand the FBI’s surveillance powers, allowing it to collect sensitive, personal information about American citizens’ online activities. The second is Senator John Cornyn’s (R-Tex.) Electronic Communications Transactional Record (ECTR) amendment (OLL16601). The ECTR amendment would expand FBI surveillance of Americans’ communications, allowing the agency to access and use the information to develop profiles of Americans’ preferences and habits. Further, the amendment would significantly weaken oversight of the FBI’s access and use of ECTRs. Both proposals are an affront to our constitutional liberties.
Refugees and Airline Removals
ADC continues to work to increase funding for Refugee Resettlement, and fight against legislation that would cut vital funding and prevent admission of refugees. We must approach the Syrian refugee crisis with the responsible humanity and tolerance that is consistent with core American values. ADC continues to tackle the discriminatory removal of passengers off commercial airlines by forging strong partnerships with Asian American and Pacific Islander community. ADC strongly encourages community members to continue reaching out to local representatives on support for refugees, airline removals and issues that impact our community.