Arab American Policies
Arab Americans are citizens of America whose roots can be traced to the Arab nations. They constitute part of the minority populations within the United States. Various policies have been formulated to address the issues that relate to the Arab Americans; ranging from language, religion and political participation. Some of the policy changes have affected and continued to affect the Arab Americans through employment discrimination and racial profiling. To the effect of policy changes, the need for coalitions and mobilization of Arab and Muslim Americans have been emphasized by some of the activists in a bid to fight for the civil rights.
The impact of the incident of September 11 on civil rights and liberty has continued to be a point of discussion on many forums particularly with regards to the Arab Americans and the Muslims. It has been pointed out that the policies on national security and anti terrorism have since incorporated suspect events surveillance, which have largely targeted the Muslim spiritual assemblies, racial profiling and spying activities.
For instance, the provisions of Patriot Act 2001 which allowed increasing surveillance in the absence of authorized court orders impacted greatly to the Arab Americans. Many people were held by the law enforcement officers for terrorism inquiries but they ended being charged for different cases including violations of immigration procedures. The Act gave the law enforcement the authority of obtaining information that relates to any individual or group of people. Arab Americans have largely fallen victim of the Act.
Additionally, in 2003, the law enforcement department executed the National Security Entry and Exit Registration. The policy stipulated that all the males who have attained the age of 16 and entered the country from October 2002, but originated from particular countries, must report annually to the immigration department where their photographs and finger prints are taken. Implementation of this policy soon resulted into 80, 000 men being interrogated, photographed and finger prints taken by the immigration officers. Among the 25 countries which were on the list, 19 were Arabic speaking countries. The program was later dropped by the end of 2003 but people from some countries like Libya, Iraq, Syria, Sudan and Iran are still tied to the requirements of the policy.
The immigration and security procedures in the country has given the United States federal government the impression that it believes on the stereotype of Arab Americans being suspects and dangerous group of people who do not deserve to enjoy the liberties and the constitutional rights within the United States. Since the country is based on democratic institutions, it should not take refuge in national security in violating its principles. Arab Americans should share with the government, question policies and frequently engage the government representatives to speedily implement changes that are beneficial to all American citizens and residents.