While CIOGC has regularly participated in the quarterly roundtable meetings with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), their recent meeting prompted many more questions about President Trump’s executive orders. The quarterly meetings have been held in the Chicago area for almost a decade and are currently coordinated by Kareem Shora, Chief of the Section of Community Engagement at the DHS Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL). Dr. Bassam Osman, CIOGC Chairman and Dr. Mohammad Kaiseruddin CIOGC Board member and members of the CIOGC House of Representative were present and posed several questions.
The program included various presentations from DHS officials including George Scott of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) who presented on the topic of TSA Pre-Check expedited Checkpoint Screening, Ronnie Payne of US Customs and Border Protection who discussed the Global Entry Program, and Jennifer Sultan, New Director of DHS-CRCL who shared about the DHS civil rights and liberties department.
The greater than usual audience present at the February 23 meeting asked many question related to deportations, inhumane conditions at some detention centers, as well as where and how the complaints can be filed.
There have been news reports that several Muslim DHS grant recipients declined the awards because DHS redefined the Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) program to focus only on Muslims. DHS was asked to comment on this issue. They referred to a statement by the new Secretary John Kelly that DHS has not made any changes to the CVE program, however, Muslim community leaders believe this discrepancy still needs to be addressed.
CAIR-Chicago invited the Director Jennifer Sultan and Kareem Shora and some Muslim leaders (including CIOGC Board members) for a small group meeting in the same evening, where the anxiety of the Muslim community and the phenomenal support it is receiving from other communities was described. Specific questions were also asked about why the detainees at airports do not have a right to counsel and what urgency is given to our feedback. Muslim community leaders were encouraged to hear that DHS personnel share many of the Muslim community concerns, but remain skeptical as to how DHS-CRLC will work with the new administration.
Several useful handouts were provided, which can be found at the following links: