STATEMENT BY SENATORS McCAIN & GRAHAM ON EXECUTIVE ORDER ON IMMIGRATION

Washington, D.C. ­– U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) released the following statement today on the President’s executive order on immigration:

“Our government has a responsibility to defend our borders, but we must do so in a way that makes us safer and upholds all that is decent and exceptional about our nation.

“It is clear from the confusion at our airports across the nation that President Trump’s executive order was not properly vetted. We are particularly concerned by reports that this order went into effect with little to no consultation with the Departments of State, Defense, Justice, and Homeland Security.

‘We can’t become a dictatorship’: Protests erupt across the U.S. against Trump refugee ban

Thousands of demonstrators rallied outside the White House and in cities nationwide Sunday to protest President Trump’s refugee ban, as the executive order continued to halt travel in some locations, despite being partially lifted by federal judges overnight.

In addition to Washington, large protests took place in New York, Philadelphia, Boston and Atlanta, and at airports in more than 30 cities.

In downtown Washington, protesters lined Pennsylvania Avenue and filled Lafayette Square. They cycled through a variety of chants, and wielded poster boards bearing messages such as “Islamophobia is un-American” and “Dissent is patriotic.”

The travel ban bars entry into the United States from seven predominately Muslim countries. Despite a federal judge’s ruling late Saturday night, and similar court decisions with varying degrees of power, the Department of Homeland Security issued a statement Sunday that said the agency would continue to implement the travel rule.

First State Terrorist Registry In The Nation

NYS Senator Tom Croci Passes Legislation To Create Historic First-Ever State Terrorist Registry Proposed to Protect the Number One Terrorist Target in the United States – New York
The New York State Senate is the first legislative body in the United States to consecutively pass legislation creating a Terrorist Registry, sponsored by Senator Thomas D. Croci (R-Sayville), Chair of the New York State Senate Committee on Homeland Security, Veterans and Military Affairs, and Assemblyman Michael Den Dekker (D-Jackson Heights).  The Senate approved the measure for the second year in a bipartisan vote (Senate bill S3464C;/Assembly bill A6129C).
“The deterioration of the security situation overseas and the growing number of attacks at home, including the barbaric attack this week in Orlando, it is clear we are under attack.   Law enforcement and New Yorkers are not being unreasonable in demanding convicted terrorists be registered,” said Senator Croci. “CNN reported last year that FBI Director James Comey asked state and local law enforcement to help the FBI keep tabs on hundreds of individuals.  We must give our police and law enforcement agencies every tool we can.  We should know if the person living next door is a convicted terrorist.

The US has stopped a British Muslim family from going on holiday – we can’t look the other way

This is more than a sad consumer affairs story about missed gate numbers or paperwork problems. The official who stopped a British Muslim family travelling to Disney World was from the US Department of Homeland Security – and in the ensuing furore other local residents have come forward to say that they, too, have been summarily refused entry to America.

What is the one thing these stories have in common? Religion. A growing number of UK Muslim citizens say they have been similarly treated. This raises troubling questions well beyond how to diffuse the heartache of small children unable to meet Elsa from Frozen. Indeed, if the US thinks it has good grounds for stopping people going there, we cannot be contented that the UK does not take any action to follow this up here.

It is not just the family themselves who are livid. The vacuum created by a refusal to provide any context for these decisions is fuelling resentment and debate. Online and offline discussions reverberate with the growing fear that UK Muslims are being “trumped” – that widespread condemnation of Donald Trump’s call for no Muslim to be allowed into America contrasts with what is going on in practice. Faced with such claims, our concern should be to offer more than a critique of American Republican primary political positioning. Because this isn’t happening in the US. It’s happening on British soil, at our airports and involving our citizens and challenging their sense of place in our society too.

Just a week ago, parliamentarians were united in agreement that Trump’s views were abhorrent. Now we should do more than shrug our shoulders at secretive American security policies that leave our constituents in such limbo. If the embassy won’t answer to the family’s MP, it should answer to their prime minister and he to us about what he is doing to ensure that no British citizen is being discriminated against for their faith on our shores.

First Muslim lawmaker appointed to House Intelligence Committee

Lauren French for POLITICO: “Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi announced in a closed-door meeting Tuesday she would name the first Muslim lawmaker to the House’s Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

Carson would be the first Muslim to serve on the committee and was the second Muslim to be elected to Congress. He already serves on the Armed Services Committee and worked for the Department of Homeland Security’s Fusion Center — the clearinghouse established by the federal government to streamline data sharing between the CIA, FBI, Department of Justice and the military.
”

Jeh Johnson, Homeland Security chief, cites threat as some travel to fight in Syrian civil war

February 7, 2014

 

Delivering his first policy address since taking office in December, Johnson covered a broad range of topics, from appropriate uses of force by Customs and Border Protection agents to declining worker morale at Homeland Security, which has consistently received some of the lowest scores in the federal government’s annual worker-satisfaction survey.

The secretary noted that his morning intelligence briefings range in scope from “the latest terrorist plotting to a weather map,” adding that his department must constantly evolve to answer national security threats and hazards.

“Syria has become a matter of homeland security,” said Johnson, 56, the fourth Senate-confirmed secretary of Homeland Security.

Johnson said people from North America and Europe are traveling to war-torn Syria to fight, adding that “they will encounter radical, extremist influences” and possibly return to their home countries with the intent to do harm.

He also discussed home-grown terrorism, saying: “We face threats from those who self-radicalize to violence, the so-called ‘lone wolf,’ who did not train at an al-Qaeda camp overseas or become part of an enemy force, but who may be inspired by radical, violent ideology to do harm to Americans.”

He noted the Boston Marathon bombings in April that killed three people and wounded more than 200 others. The attacks were allegedly carried out by two brothers living in the United States who spent time in Muslim-dominated parts of Central Asia. One of the suspects, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was killed in a shootout with police, and the Justice Department has said it will seek the death penalty against the other, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

 

Washington Post.com: http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/federal_government/jeh-johnson-homeland-security-chief-cites-threat-as-some-travel-to-fight-in-syrian-civil-war/2014/02/07/b1e8635e-9038-11e3-b227-12a45d109e03_story.html

Rep. Keith Ellison: Being a Muslim in Congress Has Gotten Better

February 10, 2014

 

Ellison called Muslims in America the “scapegoat du jour.”

Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., was the first Muslim elected to Congress and it’s not always been an easy ride. Monday, on book tour duty for his new tome, “My Country ‘Tis of Thee,” he spoke at the Center for American Progress about being a member of a religion that’s often treated as the “scapegoat du jour.”

For instance, even before he won election, Ellison became the ire of the far-right when he said, on a late night Somali-language program in his district, that he would be sworn in on the Quran.

“It set off a firestorm,” Ellison recalled.

Ellison won his race and found out early on that he had allies in his own party on Capitol Hill. On swearing-in day, then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked Ellison to give the prayer before the freshmen class.

“I didn’t know her from a can of paint, but I knew all that I needed to know about her from that moment on,” Ellison said.

Several more of Ellison’s Democratic colleagues bonded with him over their own swearing-in tomes.

“Later in the day of the swearing in, a little lady, about 5-foot-2, curly blonde hair – Debbie Wasserman Schultz – you all know her,’” Ellison said. “[She said], ‘Welcome to Congress and by the way, I want you to know when I swore in, I swore in with a copy of the Tanakh, which is Jewish scripture.”

Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., also approached Ellison to tell the Minnesota Democrat he had used a Bible written in the Gullah dialect.

Another memorable moment came when Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., called a Muslim “radicalization” hearing in March 2011 before the House Homeland Security Committee. Ellison tried to dissuade King from holding the hearing, but when that didn’t work Ellison decided to testify instead. He made a piece of his testimony about Mohammed Salman Hamdani, a 23-year-old American Muslim, who perished on 9/11 trying to save his fellow citizens.

“I started talking about this boy and his heroism and my throat started to get thick, my tongue started to thicken up, I could feel warm tears start rolling down my face,” Ellison said. (Basically, he pulled a House Speaker John Boehner, who has a penchant for crying.)

US News: http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/washington-whispers/2014/02/10/rep-keith-ellison-being-a-muslim-in-congress-has-gotten-better

Judge rules in favor of Muslim woman on no-fly list

January 16, 2014

 

A Muslim woman now living in Malaysia struck a blow to the U.S. government’s “no-fly list” when a federal judge ruled Tuesday (Jan. 14) that the government violated her due process rights by putting her on the list without telling her why.

Muslims and civil rights advocates say the no-fly list disproportionately targets Muslims, and they hope the ruling will force the government to become more transparent about the highly secretive program.

The lawsuit, filed by San Jose-based McManis-Faulkner in 2006 on behalf of the mother of four children and PhD student at Stanford University, alleged that the government violated Dr. Ibrahim’s due process rights when it placed her on the “no-fly” list. U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup ruled that Ibrahim had standing to challenge the government’s actions, ordered the government to correct Ibrahim’s position on the “no-fly” list and to disclose to her what is her current status on the “no-fly” list.

The lawsuit is the oldest of three currently being litigated to challenge the government’s secretive “no-fly” list, which effectively bars individuals the government often mistakenly believes to pose a security threat from flying. The Obama administration vehemently opposed Ibrahim’s lawsuit, sought to keep the December trial secret and is currently requesting that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals keep the ruling sealed.

“Judge Alsup’s ruling affirms that basic notions of transparency and accountability apply to even the U.S. government’s ‘no-fly’ list. We welcome this ruling and look forward to further clarity as to how one can navigate the maze created by the ‘no-fly’ list and other similar listings,” said AAAJ–ALC staff attorney Nasrina Bargzie.

“Each year our offices hear from hundreds of individuals who are visited by the FBI and face related travel issues,” said Zahra Billoo, executive director of the California chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “Many have lost hope about clearing their names, but this case will renew our collective desire to continue forward with the courts on our side.”

Under the guidelines, people who have been stopped from boarding flights may file an inquiry with the Department of Homeland Security, but responses do not include information about whether the person is on the no-fly list, according to the ACLU. The only way to find out whether a person has been removed from the no-fly list is to buy a ticket and try to board a flight.
RNS.com: http://www.religionnews.com/2014/01/16/judge-rules-favor-muslim-woman-fly-list/
CAIR.com: http://cair.com/press-center/press-releases/12322-civil-rights-groups-welcome-legal-victory-against-no-fly-list.html

Where Is Islamophobia Heading in the U.S.?

Army veteran Wade Michael Page killed six people and then himself one Sunday morning at a Sikh temple near Milwaukee, Wis., as number of people gathered there for services last August.

The attack is being treated as a hate crime and is considered by the FBI to be domestic terrorism. Teresa Carlson, the FBI agent in charge of the investigation into the attack, told reporters that “the agency is looking into [Page’s] ties to the white supremacist movement.”

So, after the shameful, bloody shooting, we have been discussing hate crime and religious discrimination.

Daryl Johnson, a former analyst for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), told the Huffington Post that Homeland Security has neglected to form a domestic terrorism unit to eliminate this type of attack. “Hindsight is always 20-20, but if DHS had a domestic terrorism unit today, we would definitely have sent out a warning, a threat assessment [to] Muslim-Americans being attacked. I know this was a Sikh temple, but he mistook them for Muslims,” Johnson indicated. Despite constant reports of increasing violence against mosques, “not a single intelligence report has warned these communities. … Someone’s not connecting the dots,” Johnson added.

On CNN News, Carol Costello connected the shooting with Islamophobia and pointed out that this is a national problem that needs to be discussed seriously. She also said that “many observers say Sikhs have been unfairly targeted ever since 9/11, but that implies Muslims can be fairly targeted. Well, they are targeted.”

Yes, since 9/11, Muslims have been targeted. As you may remember, a mosque was destroyed by a fire in Missouri. The residents of Murfreesboro, Tenn., have been fighting to keep a mosque from opening. In Washington, D.C., U.S. Representative Peter King, chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, has held a series of congressional hearings on Muslim radicalization — including inside the military — and has claimed extremist Muslims influence the US government.

House committee hearing on Boston bombings Thursday, as investigators continue to trace activities of Tsarnaev brothers

The House Committee on Homeland Security will hold a hearing Thursday on the deadly bombings, which killed three and injured more than 200. Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Tex.), the committee’s chairman, called for the hearing to investigate and review what U.S. agencies knew about the alleged bombers before the attacks.

Some reports have suggested that one of the brothers, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, met withmilitants in the strife-torn region of Dagestan last year during his six months in Russia. But one U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that issue was “still in the category of question marks.”

At the same time, agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are trying to trace the gun that Tsarnaev allegedly used in a gunfight with police before he was killed April 19. They are hoping that identifying the first purchaser of the gun could shed light on where Tsarnaev obtained the firearm.

A U.S. official said that the FBI, the National Counterterrorism Center and the Department of Homeland Security are developing a formal intelligence assessment on the factors that moved the Tsarnaevs toward hard-line Islamist views, and whether there was a single development or tipping point in their alleged turn to violence.

“We need to understand it to counter it,” the official said. “From that we look at how do you put a brake in the radicalization process, and can you put something in that path to detect it.”

The official said the research, which involves experts on radicalization at NCTC and other agencies, is expected to take several months, culminating in a formal intelligence assessment that could be distributed across the executive branch.