APABA Silicon Valley is concerned about the hastily-introduced Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015, H.R. 158, and recommends that Congress vote “ NO” on the bill in its current form.
As proposed, the bill would result in a blanket termination of participation in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) for Iraqis, Syrians, and people who are descended from countries with alleged ties to terrorism. This action singles out people from countries that have allegedly supported terrorism based on parentage alone. The bill has passed the House of Representatives and the VWP provision has been inserted into the Omnibus bill which will likely be voted on this week.
APABA Silicon Valley has serious concerns that by explicitly targeting and penalizing selected nationalities to the exclusion of other dual nationals in VWP countries, H.R. 158 would result in blanket arbitrary discrimination based on nationality or national origin without consideration of legitimate risk factors. Those targeted may have little or no connection to implicated countries except through parentage.
APABA Silicon Valley welcomes diversity of viewpoints. It condemns, however, any legislation that proposes government exclusion, removal, detention, segregation, or any other curtailment of civil rights solely on the basis of race, religion, or national origin.
In light of the troubling public discourse related to Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian (AMEMSA) communities, it is critical to remember lessons learned following internment of Japanese Americans and other historical violations of the civil rights of APIs in America. The abrogation of the Constitution is never the answer. APABA Silicon Valley stands with our AMEMSA communities and remains committed to our values of equality in practice and under the law. We call upon the public and our elected leaders to ensure that AMEMSA communities are a protected and respected part of our America.
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