TAKE ACTION on Freedom of Speech and Much More: ADC July 2017 Legislative Update
The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) has continued to work tirelessly to advocate for the Arab-American community. In the first half of 2017, ADC has addressed many pieces of legislation including the proposed Anti- BoyCott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) bills in the Senate and the House, Countering Violent Extremism (CVE), and the Traveler Redress bill. ADC has actively supported legislation that seeks to protect the rights of our community like the Pocan Amendment to stop funding for the Travel Ban and reintroduction of the End Racial and Religious Profiling Act of 2017 (ERRPA).
Anti-BDS legislation was introduced in both the House and the Senate in early 2017. The Combating BDS Act of 2017 (S. 170/H.R. 2856) seeks to provide authorization to state and local governments to allow them to pass laws that permit the state to cease contracting with and divest state pension from entities that boycott Israel. The Israel Anti-Boycott Act (S. 720/H.R. 1697) amends the Export Administration Act of 1979 to prohibit of international government organizations to boycott Israel. The Anti-Semitism Awareness Act (S. 10/H.R. 6421) passed the Senate in 2016 but failed in the House. This bill defines criticism of Israel and Israeli government policies as “anti-Semitic” language. ADC has been meeting with Senators regarding these bills.
ADC has fought tirelessly against proposed amendments to the NDAA. In a recent victory on July 14th, due in part to the efforts of ADC, Amendment 68 of the NDAA did not pass the House in a 217 “No” to 208 “Yes” vote. The proposed amendment permitted government officials and non-government “experts” to dictate what they consider to be orthodox religion or religious activities.
ADC opposed Amendment 210, entitled National Strategy for Countering Violent Extremist Groups. The amendment is based on the inherently flawed concept of CVE that there are identifiable factors linked to the presence of extremism based on national origin, ethnicity and religion. This amendment passed the House Committee.
Arab and Muslim Ban
The ADC has been active in opposing Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funding used to implement the Arab and Muslim Ban. ADC continues to stand against the unconstitutional ban and supports proposed legislation to halt DHS funding of the ban, and anti-immigrant policies.
ADC stands in opposition of the Asylum Reform and Border Protection Act that was reintroduced in January of 2017. This bill would lead to the deportation of legitimate refugees with substantiated fears of persecution. The bill also threatens to keep individuals in immigration detention for prolonged periods of time and place children at risk of deportation.
ADC endorses the Protect American Families Act introduced by Senator Cory Booker. The bill will protect religious freedom in all communities by prohibiting the institution of a federally-funded registry that targets individuals based on race, national origin, religion, and/or ethnicity.
ADC supports the Access to Counsel Act introduced by Senator Kamala Harris. The bill seeks to clarify the rights of individuals detained at ports of entry overseen by U.S. Customs and Border Protection or U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
ADC supports the Traveler Redress Improvement Act of 2017 that passed the House unanimously in June of 2017. This bill will expand the Traveler Redress Inquiry Program (TRIP). The expansion of the TRIP will allow redress for individuals who have been targeted and unfairly subjected to advanced screenin