Yemeni Americans Being Targeted
Washington, DC, July 1–The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) recently issued an internal memo, directing the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and U.S. Customs to selectively seek out and search all individuals of Yemeni origin including U.S. citizens but excluding individuals with diplomatic status.
According to the DOJ, the impetus to adopt such procedures is based on evidence obtained by intelligence. DOJ explains that this is a necessary precaution to protect the nation from any possible terrorist attack. While the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) fully supports the security measures taken to ensure the safety of all and the security of our nation, ADC opposes measures that infringe on an individual’s constitutionally guaranteed civil rights.
Since the implementation of these new measures, ADC has received a number of complaints from individuals who have been directly affected. Some of the individuals targeted have been removed from planes before departure, even after passing through security. Some individuals have been singled out while in line to check-in luggage at airports. These individuals have been left stranded for hours while waiting for clearance from the INS. There have also been reports that items have been removed from their luggage without explanation to them. Some individuals have even been handcuffed to poles for hours as officials questioned them.
ADC will continue to work in concert with government agencies and other civil rights organizations to ensure safety of all individuals and will continue its efforts to safeguard civil rights. As such, ADC calls on the DOJ to adhere to the Bush Administration’s policy of not using race, ethnicity, or national origin as sole reasons or justifications in what are otherwise valid and necessary security measures.
ADC asks that all individuals who have been subjected to these measures to immediately report them to ADC. Contact ADC’s National Office at 202-244-2990, the ADC Michigan Office at 313-581-1201, or the ADC New York Office at 718-834-0024.