Commerce considers labeling Arab Americans a disadvantaged minority

The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) petitioned Commerce earlier this year to ask that Arab Americans be made eligible for the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), which helps minority entrepreneurs gain access to capital, contracts and trade opportunities.

ADVERTISEMENT

The ADC petition cited “discrimination and prejudice in American society[,] resulting in conditions under which Arab-American individuals have been unable to compete in a business world.” The group claimed discrimination against Arab Americans increased after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

“The ADC petition asserts that, in the government’s efforts to protect Americans, they essentially took away the rights of other Americans,” according to the notice of proposed rulemaking about the petition.

Commerce is asking for comment about whether there is social and economic discrimination against Arab Americans, along with examples of it occurring. The MBDA will decide whether or not to accept the petition by June 27.


More from The Hill:
♦ Romney: Obama desperate for 'twig to hold on to' on economy
♦ Trump, Romney's surrogate, goes on ‘birther’ offensive
BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerLiz Cheney faces a big decision on her future NBC's Kelly O'Donnell tears up over video celebrating 25 years at network Boehner: 'I wouldn't bother' with primary challenge to Trump if I were Kasich MORE-offered-electronic-cigarettes-as-alternative-to-tobacco" mce_href="http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/house/229839-boehner-offered-electronic-cigarettes-as-alternative-to-tobacco"> ♦ EverSmoke offers Boehner e-cigarettes
♦ White House: More 'chaos and carnage' in arming Syrian rebels
♦ House to vote on bill penalizing abortion based on sex of child
♦ Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioHillicon Valley: Trump takes flak for not joining anti-extremism pact | Phone carriers largely end sharing of location data | Huawei pushes back on ban | Florida lawmakers demand to learn counties hacked by Russians | Feds bust 0M cybercrime group Huawei says inclusion on US trade blacklist is in 'no one's interest' Frustrated GOP senators want answers from Trump on Iran MORE to visit Guantánamo
♦ Pentagon denies US special forces deployed in North Korea
♦ Schumer asks airlines to drop preferred-seat fees for children


In making the case for minority status, ADC highlighted the National Security Entry Exit Registration System, "which required non-immigrants to register at ports of entry and targeted males from Arab nations; stricter travel guidelines; and ‘no-fly lists’ that predominantly contained the names of Arab-Americans," according to MBDA’s summary of the petition.

The petition also said studies indicate that Arab Americans have seen their earnings decrease since Sept. 11 compared to other ethnic groups, and have been subject to harassment and racial profiling while receiving “few prime government contracts.”  

The ADC wants any “American who traces his or her ethnic roots to one of the countries in the Arab World, including Algeria, Bahrain, Djoubti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen” to be eligible for MBDA services. Palestinians would also be included.

MBDA services are now offered to African-Americans, Puerto Ricans, Spanish-speaking Americans, American Indians, Eskimos, Aleuts, Hasidic Jews, Asian-Pacific Americans and Asian Indians.