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CAIR Signs Joint Statement on Census-DHS

We, the undersigned civil liberties, faith-based, civic and human rights
organizations, express grave concern regarding the issuance of tabulations
on the Arab-American population, prepared by the Census Bureau to the
United States Customs Service in 2002 and, later, the Bureau of Customs and
Border Protection at the Department of Homeland Security in 2003.

The information, provided by the Census Bureau to Customs includes specific
data on the Arab American population in the United States, broken down by
population size (1000 or more Arab Americans) as well as by
zip-code. Troublingly, the data are further delineated by the specific
ancestry or national-origin of the Arab Americans.

These actions are a violation of the public’s trust in the census bureau,
and a troubling reminder of one of our nation’s darkest days when the
sharing of similar information resulted in the internment of Japanese
Americans during World War II.

The explanation so far provided by the Department of Homeland Security,
stating that the information was used only to create language-specific
signage for outbound airport operations, does not justify the need for any
data on where Arab Americans live, nor does it justify where they live by
zip code. Furthermore, there is no rational relationship between of the
national origin of Arab Americans (i.e. Egyptian, Lebanese, Iraqi, Syrian,
Palestinian, Jordanian, etc.) and Arabic signage at airports. Moreover,
most (98%) of Arab Americans speak and read English fluently. Hence the
rational for the data requirements is inconsistent with reality.

Additionally, while stating otherwise, the Department of Homeland Security
and the Census Bureau have failed to provide proof that similar information
related to other ethnicities was requested and/or obtained for similar
language-specific signage in languages other than Arabic during the same

In conclusion, this troubling issue calls for an immediate and clear
explanation from the Department of Homeland Security, a proper documented
investigation, and, if necessary, hearings by the United States Congress.

List of organizations:
1) American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)
2) American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
3) Arab American Institute (AAI)
4) Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS)
5) Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF)
6) Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR)
7) Coalition De Derechos Humanos – Alianza Indigena Sin Fronteras
8) Congress of Arab American Organizations-Michigan (CAAO-MI)
9) Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR)
10) Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)
11) Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC)
12) Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR)
13) Lebanese American Heritage Club (LAHC)
14) LaRaza Centro Legal (LRCL)
15) Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services (LIRS)
16) Migration Policy and Resource Center – Urban and Environmental Policy
Institute (Occidental College)
17) National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO)
Educational Fund
18) National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium (NAPALC)
19) National Immigration Forum
20) National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild
21) National Network of Immigrant and Refugee Rights (NNIRR).
22) South Asian American Leaders of Tomorrow (SAALT)
23) United American Lebanese Federation (UALF)

ADC Chapters (expressly endorsing statement):
1) ADC-Austin Chapter
2) ADC-Greater Detroit Chapter
3) ADC-Greater Kalamazoo Chapter
4) ADC-Houston Chapter
5) ADC-Kentucky Chapter
6) ADC-Los Angeles/Orange County Chapter
7) ADC-New Jersey Chapter
8) ADC-New Orleans Chapter
9) ADC-New York Chapter
10) ADC-Philadelphia Chapter
11) ADC-Sacramento Chapter
12) ADC-San Diego Chapter
13) ADC-San Francisco Chapter
14) ADC-Seattle Chapter
15) ADC-Tucson Chapter
16) ADC-Washington, DC Area Chapter
17) ADC-Wisconsin Chapter


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