Categories
National JACL

Prepared Statement on Expansion of the Muslim Ban

JACL Denounces Expansion of the Muslim Ban

January 31, 2020

For Immediate Release

David Inoue, Executive Director
dinoue@jacl.org, 202-223-1240

Sarah Baker, VP Public Affairs
sbaker@jacl.org


Today’s addition of Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Nigeria, Sudan and Tanzania expands he number of countries affected by the Muslim Ban to 13. Similar to the first ban, the people impacted are predominantly Muslim. But these new additions will also affect those fleeing persecution in places such as Myanmar. That these announcements have come in the same week as the three year anniversary of the issuance of the first Muslim Ban and Holocaust Memorial Day is reprehensible. We cannot recall the holocaust without acknowledging our country’s role in refusing holocaust refugees entry. As we now repeat the same mistake through this expanding and misguided policy, it would behoove us to question its validity and effectiveness. Since the implementation of the first Muslim Ban, families have been forced to live apart, college student’s studies have halted, and lives have even been lost because of the restrictions. What has this ban truly done to protect our country?

The ban is a source of particular pain to the Japanese American community. The Supreme Court upheld the ban in its 2018 decision on the basis of national security. This was the exact same rationale used to uphold the World War II incarceration of nearly 120,000 people, many of whom were citizens, because of our national ancestry. The fact that Chief Justice Roberts went out of his way to repudiate the Korematsu decision was ironic in the decision’s reaffirmation of discrimination on the basis of national origin under the guise of national security. In neither case has the government been able to prove an actual security threat.

The expansion of the Muslim Ban continues a pattern of discrimination by this country against communities of color as also seen in the policies of family separation and incarceration, changes to the public charge definition, and most recently, subjecting American citizens of Iranian ancestry to additional screening at the Canadian border. Having experienced the sting of restrictions on Asian immigration in the past, JACL opposes these broad attacks on immigration which stand in direct opposition to the ideals upon which this country was founded that we have yet to truly uphold.

###

The Japanese American Citizens League is a national organization whose ongoing mission is to secure and maintain the civil rights of Japanese Americans and all others who are victimized by injustice and bigotry. The leaders and members of the JACL also work to promote cultural, educational and social values and preserve the heritage and legacy of the Japanese American community.


Categories
National JACL Uncategorized

Prepared Statement on Increased Screening of Iranian Americans

JACL Concerned by Reports of Increased Screening Procedures for Iranian American Citizens at the U.S./Canadian Border

January 6, 2020

For Immediate Release

David Inoue, Executive Director
dinoue@jacl.org, 202-223-1240

Sarah Baker, VP Public Affairs
sbaker@jacl.org


Washington, DC – This past weekend, reports of increased screening of Iranian Americans returning to the United States from Canada arose late Saturday night and early Sunday morning. Although individuals were not officially detained or taken into custody according to Customs and Border Protection (CBP), it is clear that many U.S. citizens of Iranian descent were subjected to additional screening that non-Iranian citizens were not.

JACL denounces this expansion of screening and further questioning based solely on Iranian heritage. Our country should have learned its lesson when it targeted Japanese Americans because of our ancestry. We must not repeat the mistake of casting suspicion on American citizens simply because of their family’s country of origin. Racist discrimination should not be institutionalized under the guise of national security interests.


CBP seems to be seeking cover by claiming to have not detained or ordered for the detention of any individual, but has made no comment in regards to the extended questioning and screening procedures. We call upon CBP to immediately halt any discriminatory policies singling out travelers solely for their Iranian heritage. If CBP did not issue orders for additional screening, it must conduct an immediate investigation as to why additional screenings were required for Iranian Americans crossing the border.

###

The Japanese American Citizens League is a national organization whose ongoing mission is to secure and maintain the civil rights of Japanese Americans and all others who are victimized by injustice and bigotry. The leaders and members of the JACL also work to promote cultural, educational and social values and preserve the heritage and legacy of the Japanese American community.