Bicameral, Bipartisan Resolution Condemns Discrimination Against Iranian Americans

Lawmakers call for probe of discriminatory CBP directive to detain and question Americans of Iranian origin following killing of General Soleimani

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Washington, June 17, 2020 | comments

U.S. Representatives Gerald E. Connolly (D-VA) and Francis Rooney (R-FL) and U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) led the introduction of a resolution denouncing discriminatory treatment of Iranian Americans. This bicameral, bipartisan resolution comes after earlier this year, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) office on the U.S.-Canada border was found to have directed its agents to detain and question Americans of Iranian origin about their faith and military service following the U.S. killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani. The resolution calls on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to launch a civil rights probe into the incident and directs government officials to ensure that civil rights and liberties of all Americans – including Iranian Americans – are protected.

“Earlier this year, dozens of Americans of Iranian heritage were detained at the border at the direction of Customs and Border Protection agents,” said Connolly. “There is no place for such bigotry or acts of discrimination against any American. This resolution unequivocally condemns such discriminatory treatment, urges the Department of Homeland Security to conduct a civil rights investigation into this matter, and calls upon government leaders and law enforcement personnel to ensure that the civil rights and civil liberties of all Americans, including Iranian Americans, are fully protected.”

“The prejudice Iranian Americans experienced at the hands of federal border officials earlier this year will simply not be tolerated in our country,”
said Blumenthal. “I am proud to co-sponsor this important resolution with congressional colleagues from both sides of the aisle to completely denounce such acts of bigotry and take steps to ensure this never happens again. The Department of Homeland Security must launch a full and complete investigation into this shameful incident, and leaders across the country must reaffirm our nation’s commitment to protect the civil rights and liberties of all Americans – including Iranian Americans.”

“Iranian Americans are being profiled by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for no reason other than appearance,” said Rooney. “This is illegal and unacceptable. This is why Congressman Gerald Connolly and I introduced a bipartisan resolution to acknowledge the diversity of the Iranian American community and their contributions to the socioeconomic fabric of America. Many Iranian Americans serve in our military, contribute to our small and large businesses, hold elected government positions, and work in our law enforcement. This resolution sheds light on the importance of maintaining and promoting the civil rights and liberties that the Iranian American community deserves.”

The resolution was co-sponsored by U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) in the Senate and U.S. Representatives Scott Peters (D-CA) and Michael Waltz (R-FL) in the House.

“Iranian-Americans have made immense contributions across American society,” said Kaine. “I’m proud that many of them call Virginia home. And I’m glad to join this group of bicameral, bipartisan colleagues to condemn discrimination against the Iranian-American community at the hands of federal border officials earlier this year. Congress must stand strong against discrimination in all its forms.”

The resolution was also endorsed by the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA).

“I applaud congressional leaders for their efforts to encourage local, state and federal elected officials to engage with Iranian Americans to end harmful stereotypes and protect our community’s civil liberties and civil rights,” said PAAIA Executive Director Leila Austin.The discrimination of anyone based on ethnicity or national origin does not speak to the values of our great nation. I am hopeful that through the introduction of these resolutions, efforts will be made to eradicate this discrimination from our communities and in government. I thank Sen. Blumenthal and Reps. Connolly and Rooney as well as the resolutions’ bi-partisan co-sponsors Sen. Kaine and Reps. Peters and Waltz for shining a spotlight on this issue and for putting forth recommendations to discourage the discrimination of any American based on their race, color, religion, national origin or ethnicity.”

The full text of the Senate resolution can be found here and the House resolution text can be found here.

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