Muslims Show Up in Record Numbers for 4th National Muslim Advocacy Day 2018

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On May 7th and 8th, Muslims from more than 28 states showed up in record numbers on Capitol Hill for U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations’ (USCMO), of which ICNA is a founding member, Muslim Advocacy Day 2018 to advocate against the Muslim ban, support gun control, immigration reform and insure all communities have access to nutritious and affordable food. There were over 400 Muslims in attendance and more than 250 meetings were set up with elected officials.

ICNA CSJ was on the steering committee for the event and helped bring over 70 members from the ICNA family to the event.

The attendees met with their elected officials and lobbied for the following issues:

  1. Co-sponsorship of Recognizing American Muslims’ history and Contributions to Our Nation Bill. This is a bill that was recently introduced by Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA-27) in California. It request the House of Representatives to recognize the historic and valuable contributions by the American Muslim community to the United States.
  2. Push Back Against the Trump’s Unconstitutional Muslim Ban & Biased Extreme Vetting programs. On April 25, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the legality of President Donald Trump’s latest version of his unconstitutional and discriminatory Muslim travel ban executive order. Since December 2017, the Supreme Court has allowed Trump’s “Muslim Ban 3.0” order to go into effect – barring travel to the United States of citizens from six predominantly Muslim nations: Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, and Chad. While this executive action includes two countries – Venezuela and North Korea – that are not Muslim majority, nationals of those countries do not face categorical bans.However, USCMO believes that the Muslim ban is a case for Congress to decide on – either by supporting a Supreme Court decision against the ban with new laws – or clarifying that the ban is against American principles by offering new legal protections to travelers to the U.S. Thankfully, the American Muslim community is not alone in struggling to protect their civil rights as well as the fundamental liberties of all persons enshrined in the U.S Constitution. Many members of Congress have stepped up and introduced or co-sponsored legislation that pushes back against this anti-Muslim policy agenda and protects our nation’s systems of laws and values. Below is a brief list of congressional acts that USCMO is asking Congress to support:
    • Defund the Muslim Ban 3.0: H.R. 4271 / S. 1979 – To block the implementation of Muslim Ban 3.0, which restrict individuals from certain countries from entering the United States.
    • Access to Counsel Act (H.R. 1006 / S. 349) – Guarantees legal counsel to those detained upon entry to the U.S, clarifies rights of those held at the border.
    • The Korematsu-Takai Act of 2017 (H.R.4680 / S.2250) – To ensure due process protections of individuals in the U.S. against unlawful detention based solely on a protected characteristic.
    • No Religious Registry Act of 2017 (H.R. 489) / Protect American Families Act (S. 54) – To prohibit the creation of an immigration-related registry program that classifies people based on religion, race, age, gender, ethnicity, national origin, nationality, or citizenship. Rep. Suzan DelBene and Sen. Cory Booker’s offices to support.
    • Freedom of Religion Act of 2017 (H.R. 852) – Prohibits barring immigrants, refugees, and international visitors from entry based on religion. Championed by Rep. Don Beyer with 115 co-sponsors.
  3. Protect Immigrant Communities: Supporting Dreamers, TPS Holders and Opposing New Restrictions. Muslim community opposes the Islamophobic, anti-immigrant and white supremacist immigration agenda of the Trump administration and asks Congress to reject discriminatory policies that seek to limit the total number of immigrants inside the United States. Congressional members were urged by the Muslim community to take the following actions:
    • Protect Dreamers and DACA: SUPPORT the Dream Act of 2017 (H.R. 3440 / S. 1615 – Trump’s termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is an act of institutionalizing the demands of anti-immigrant extremists. The Dream Act of 2017, provides a pathway for the 800,000 children who were brought to the U.S. as children to become permanent residents, and eventually apply for citizenship. Conditions for this are that the individual arrived in the U.S. prior to the age of 18, has been here for more than four years, and has not engaged in any criminal, federal or state offenses, or the persecution of any person(s).
    • Guarantee the Safety of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) Holders: SUPPORT the Safe Environment from Countries Under Repression and Emergency Act (SECURE) Act (S. 2144) and the American Promise Act of 2017 (H.R. 4253) – These would provide a way for TPS holders and their family members from El Salvador, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, Liberia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen to adjust their immigration status to legal permanent resident, allowing them to eventually obtain citizenship if they haven’t broken any laws and lived in the U.S. for three years. Currently, over 300,000 foreign nationals living in the United States possess TPS status.
    • Protect the Immigration System from the Trump Administration: OPPOSE the Immigration in the National Interest Act of 2017 (H.R. 3775) and Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act (S.354) – These would cut legal immigration in half – from 1 million to 500,000 new Green Card holders – and favor English speakers. In addition to cutting the total number of Green Cards, these acts would cut the number Green Cards provided to refugees from 120,000 per year to 50,000; eliminate Green Card preferences for extended and adult family members of U.S. residents, restricting family based immigration preferences for parents, siblings, and adult children of U.S. citizens; and, dismantle the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program – also known as the “Diversity Lottery” – which makes 50,000 visas available yearly to applicants from countries with low rates of immigration to the U.S.
  4. Gun Safety Reform: Without Compromising the Safety and Rights of American Muslims. USCMO supports reasonable gun-safety reforms that could have the potential to stop mass-shootings like the ones that took place in Parkland, Las Vegas, Sandy Hook, Aurora, and Charleston. Gun-safety reforms that Congress should adopt include:
    • Universal background checks for all gun sales – including private handgun sales, gun shows and online sales. That includes increasing enforcement of existing rules that require states to report criminal records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
    • Keeping guns out of the hands of individuals convicted of domestic violence or stalking. Moreover, USCMO supports gun violence restraining and protective orders for individuals fearing for their safety, enabling them to petition a court to remove a person’s access to guns if they pose an immediate threat.
    • Preventing a person who has been convicted of a misdemeanor hate crime, or received an enhanced sentence for a misdemeanor because of hate or bias in its commission, from obtaining a firearm.
    • Prohibiting the possession or transfer of firearm accessories commonly referred to as “bump stocks,” which enable semi-automatic rifles to shoot at a rate close to fully-automatic rifles.
    • Ensuring that Congress continues to appropriate long-term federal-funding into research studying the causes and effects of gun violence in America.
    • USCMO opposes proposals to militarize and over-police our nation’s schools in response to school shootings. In a 2017 survey, the California chapter of Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) found that 38 percent of Californian Muslim students are targets of offensive comments from school educators, an increase by 18 percentage points since 2014. Militarizing our schools and arming teachers and faculty members is problematic for students of color, especially American Muslim students.
    • USCMO also believes that gun-safety reform should not include support for “No Fly, No Buy,” a legislative proposal that would ban gun sales to people placed on the federal government’s unconstitutional federal watch list. That is because the watch list disproportionately targets American Muslim families and children, including a 7-month-old in one documented case, and is ineffective in appealing incorrect designations as required by the U.S. Constitution. In recent years, thousands of law-abiding American Muslims have reported being placed on the unconstitutional federal watch list. USCMO asks lawmakers to not support legislation that provides a false sense of safety while infringing upon the rights of a vulnerable American minority. Simply put, our nation’s broken watch list system must not be used to strip Americans of even more rights.
  5. Insuring All Communities Have a Right and Means to Access Nutritious, Sufficient, Affordable and Culturally Appropriate Food. USCMO supports food and nutrition services and programs aimed at ending hunger and poverty. We believe that all communities have a right to access nutritious, sufficient, affordable and culturally appropriate food. USCMO supports Goal 2 of the Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations which calls for ending hunger and achieving food security around the world by 2030. USCMO is urging members of Congress to reauthorize a Farm Bill that will reduce hunger and poverty in the U.S. and around the world:
    • DOMESTICALLY: Protect the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and strengthen programs that reduce hunger.
      • We oppose deep budget cuts to the SNAP program
      • We oppose structural change to SNAP through block grants to states
      • Current SNAP structure allows access to supplemental food by expanding in economic downturns and retracting when the economy improves. Turning SNAP into a block grant to states removes this flexibility
      • We also oppose strict work requirements of SNAP recipients
      • “Able Body” adults who are willing to work should not be cut from programs because they are unable to attain work or maintain a sufficient amount of work hours.
    • INTERNATIONALLY: Protect the focus and effective elements of existing international food assistance programs.
      • Emergency food aid keeps people alive through natural disasters, conflict and food security crisis. Nonemergency-development programs address the underlying sources of chronic hunger through multiyear investments in nutrition, agriculture productivity, livelihoods and diversification of household incomes.
      • Increase the flexibility of international food assistance programs to ensure that the right tool is available to provide the most appropriate response in every situation. Effective tools include cash transfers, food vouchers, and regional procurement, alongside provisions of U.S. commodities.

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