Tuesday, October 12, 2004

U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Accuses Bush

 Is the Pot Melting?

U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Accuses Bush
Administration of Calling Arab Americans a "Dangerous
By: Said Arikat-October 8, 2004

During its meeting on Friday, October 8, 2004, the
United States Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR),
Republican Commission members failed in their attempt
to have a highly critical review of the Bush
administration's record on civil rights removed from
the public domain. A draft report detailed the lack of
progress the Bush Administration has made on civil
rights in America during the last four years.

The report places special emphasis on Bush's failed
record and broken promises to the Arab American
community, detailing the Bush administration's failure
to stop racial profiling, to strengthen hate crimes
legislation, and improve the lives of the nation's
newest immigrants.

Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Terry
McAuliffe said,"This report confirms what we already
know: President Bush hasn't followed through on his
promises to make Arab Americans safer and more secure.
In fact, Bush has failed to secure the rights of Arab
Americans." McAuliffe added, "As President, John Kerry
will put his words into action to lead our country in
a new direction."

Titled, Redefining Rights in America; The Civil Rights
of George W. Bush, the 181 page report stipulates
that, "Shortly after he took office, President Bush
expressed an ambitious intent: to eliminate racial
profiling in America.events during his first year
resulted in policies that facilitate, rather than
preclude such activity."

"The report accuses the Bush Administration of having
failed to balance civil rights protections and
homeland security. It charges, "Based on the disparate
treatment to which law enforcement personnel have
subjected Arab Americans and Muslims, from
unreasonable arrests to passenger profiling."

While the administration professes opposition to
profiling by outlawing such practices, "It allows
enforcers to label anyone a potential security threat
any law enforcement officer wishing to target a
specific group (for stops, arrests, charges,
detentions, etc.) may do so and use national security
as a cover."

The lack of training that the FBI provides in
identifying, analyzing, and reporting hate crimes
continues to contributes to the major flaw in federal
hate crimes data collection. The report cites, "In
2002, the FBI acknowledged that its hate crimes
reports are 'insufficient to allow a valid national or
regional measure of the volume and types of crimes
motivated by hate." It adds, "President Bush [has]
repeatedly denounced hate crimes and called for strong
prosecution of perpetrators. However, the President
has retreated from his strong rhetoric foremost by
failing to support legislation that would strengthen
hate crimes protections."

In its most blatant charge the report accuses,
"President Bush authorized federal officials to round
up hundreds of Arabs, Muslims, and Arab Americans as
material witnesses in its investigation of the attacks
and detain them on minor immigration violations. Arab
and Muslim immigrants and visitors were identified as
a 'dangerous class,' signaling the government's
intention to deny them entry into the country whenever

The report states that, "Arab and Muslim immigrants
and visitors have been treated unfairly and bear the
burden of the administration's policies and practices,
and are frequently the target of surveillance,
incarceration, or various other processes merely
because of their religion, nationality, physical
appearance, or similar factors unrelated to

By November 5, 2001, the Department of Justice (DOJ)
had detained more than 1,100 men of Middle Eastern and
South Asian descent. DOJ did not reveal who it had
detained, the reasons for detention, nor where
detainees were held, not even to their families,
according to the report

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