May 1, 2019

NIAC Joins a Coalition of Over 100 Organizations Opposing DHS Surveillance of Activists, Journalists, and Lawyers

Today, the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) joined the Center for Democracy and Technology along with a coalition of over 100 organizations in sending a letter to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) urging it to cease targeting activists, journalists, and lawyers based on their First Amendment-protected speech and associational activities.

This comes after recent alarming reports that ICE has documented lists of “anti-Trump” protesters in New York in addition to CBP creating dossiers on activists, lawyers, and journalists who work with and report on asylum seekers at the southern border. DHS must address these reports of surveillance activity by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that jeopardize First Amendment rights and access to legal counsel, and may violate the Privacy Act of 1974.

That DHS may be wielding its authority to target those advocating for immigrants rights is incredibly alarming and jeopardizes the work of organizations like ours. In this time when many are protesting egregious policies like the Muslim Ban and family separation, we need assurances that the government is not retaliating against those who are critical of its policies— particularly when many of those who protest are from vulnerable communities that have been targeted by this administration. Unfortunately, DHS’s conduct can not provide those assurances.

This is why we have joined this diverse coalition to push back against DHS and are working to hold our government accountable for its actions. We demand that DHS cease impermissible targeting, monitoring, and harassment of activists, journalists, and lawyers at the border, and disclose the policies, guidelines, and training materials that govern these activities.

Find the full letter below:

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