CIOGC Chairman, Dr. Abdul Malik Mujahid, Imam Jamal Said and Dr. Zaher Sahloul of the Mosque Foundation, CAIR-Chicago Executive Director, Yaser Tabbara, and other community representatives from the South Asian, Arab-American and Assyrian communities attended a meeting with representatives of US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the United States Attorney’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI). Carol Rogoff Hallstrom, Esq., Community Liaison for the local Department of Homeland Security US Citizenship & Immigration Services organized, facilitated and ran this meeting. The following issues were presented by CAIR-Chicago and others: 1- HIJAB AT O’HARE: Muslim females inappropriately being asked to remove their head scarves (hijab) when being photographed while seeking admission at O’Hare Airport.
2- CITIZENSHIP DELAYS: Muslims: South Asians and Arabs experiencing long delays in the adjudication of adjustment and naturalization cases by USCIS due to pending FBI name checks.
3- IMMIGRATION FACILITIES DETENTION STANDARDS: Detainee abuse and failure to segregate immigration detainees from the general population in county detention facilities used by the Office of Detention and Removal (DRO).
4- FEDERAL INDICTMENTS: When a federal indictment on terrorism-related charges is announced with a press conference resulting in significant media attention but the defendant is subsequently acquitted on the charges or the government accepts a plea to lesser charge, the absence of equally public statements by government officials about the outcome, adds credibility to “mainstream” community stereotyping of the Muslim community as terrorists. 5- COMMUNITY DIALOGUE WITH NATIONAL POLICY MAKERS: In agreeing to Roundtable ground rules that limit discussion of national policy, focusing instead on actionable local matters, community participants want opportunities to bring concerns about national public policy issues to executive branch public policy makers. CAIR-Chicago will follow up on all above issues and update the community on any progress. Please contact CAIR-Chicago if you have any other concerns you like us to present to any of the above agencies. Next follow-up meeting will be held on Thursday, March 9, 2005. This meeting will discuss any progress on the issues presented at the December 8th meeting, as well as address any new issues that might come up before then.
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