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CAIR Urges House Foreign Affairs Committee to Oppose Bill, Scheduled for Mark-Up Tomorrow, Intended to Export Illegal Watchlisting System Abroad

The Counterterrorism Screening and Assistance Act of 2019 (H.R. 630) would:

  • Internationalize the United States' illegal watchlisting system, making it impossible for innocent American Muslims targeted by the federal government to travel safely overseas.
  • Construct a legal framework that may be used to coerce foreign governments to use the federal government's watchlisting system or be subject to the Muslim Ban
  • Pressure foreign governments to implement so-called “risk-based” programs that do not work and have resulted in innocent Americans being handcuffed at gunpoint in front of their children

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 12/17/19) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today called on members of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs to oppose the mark-up of  H.R. 630 (Counterterrorism Screening and Assistance Act of 2019), an attempt to internationalize a watchlisting system that a federal court declared illegal just three months ago. 

The act is expected to be considered by the committee and marked-up this Wednesday, December 18.

SEE:
 U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs December 18th Mark-up Notice

In a message sent to the congressional members of the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, CAIR Government Affairs Director Robert McCaw stated:

“This bill is an attempt to impose on foreign governments a watchlisting system that a federal court declared illegal just three months ago.  As the House votes on impeachment, it should not at the same time give the president broad authorities to oppress innocent Americans and other Muslims all across the world.”  

Earlier this year, in response to CAIR's lawsuit Elhady v. Kable (E.D.VA), a federal court declared the entirety of the watchlist illegal, finding that “[t]he vagueness of the standard for inclusion in the TSDB. . .constitutes, in essence, the “absence of any ascertainable standard for inclusion and exclusion.”  If adopted, H.R. 630 would be the first congressional act to promote the foreign government usage of the unconstitutional federal terrorist watchlist.  The House should not compound the constitutional violation by doubling down on this illegal program.”

“H.R. 630 would also lay the groundwork for an expansion of the Muslim Ban.  The bill's framework directs the federal government to undertake an ”˜assessment of the countries of greatest concern and risk for travel to the United States,’ language that could be misappropriated by the Trump administration to facilitate an expansion of the discriminatory Muslim ban. In the event that this H.R. 630 is adopted, the White House could point to this bill as a congressional mandate to expand the scope of the racist Muslim Ban.”    


CAIR reminds the Committee that, in July, the U.S. House passed an amendment by Representative Ilhan Omar to the Intelligence Authorization Act, requiring the Director of National Intelligence and Secretary of State to submit a report to Congress on foreign countries’ access to the terrorist screening database, including countries that have a record of violating human rights, like China and Saudi Arabia.  

H.R. 630 encourages foreign governments to adopt U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s traveler risk assessment program, which has caused innocent Muslims to be handcuffed at gun point at the border, detained for hours, and questioned about their religious beliefs.  This program ”˜collects air passenger data’ and employs ”˜traveler risk assessment’ and ”˜screening procedures’ that include the ”˜collection and analysis of travel data.’ An international expansion of this program will replicate globally the senseless traumas imposed on Muslims domestically.”

“For all these reasons, CAIR requests you oppose the adoption of the problematic H.R. 630, Counterterrorism Screening and Assistance Act of 2019.”

CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims. 

La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.

END

CONTACT: CAIR Government Affairs Director Robert McCaw, 202-742-6448, rmccaw@cair.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, ihooper@cair.com

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