Unions Urge Tolerance for Arab-Americans

Many unions acted proactively to issue calls to respect Arab-Americans and Muslims. Excerpts of one such resolution are below.

Out of respect and solidarity with the victims, a coalition of unions and immigrants' rights organizations cancelled the National Day of Action for Legalization and Immigrant Rights, which had been planned for September 25 in Washington.

The coalition said, "We must all come together to ensure that xenophobia [hatred of foreigners] and hysteria will not produce further violence and harm directed towards immigrants or others because of an individual or group's national origin, racial or ethnic background and/or religious belief.

"In this democracy we all have civil and human rights; no reaction to these heinous acts can justify the denial of these rights."

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FEAR OF RAIDS

The Day of Action was also canceled due to fear of a police crackdown. Groups reported that their members refused to travel to Washington for fear of Immigration and Naturalization Service raids. The INS has been given broad new powers in the wake of the attack, including the ability to arrest and hold immigrants without cause for 48 hours.

The INS has used these new powers to detain Arabic immigrants, although immigrant groups report increased raids against other communities as well. The government may attempt to use secret evidence against detained immigrants, allowing them to hold people without disclosing the cause to organizations monitoring for abuse.

In the wake of the terrorist attack, Arab-Americans have faced a wave of hate crimes, including three confirmed murders, across the country. Other immigrants have also been threatened and many are lying low fearing for their personal safety.