01.08.16

Peters to Host Hassan Jaber, Executive Director of ACCESS, for State of the Union Address

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) today announced that he will host Hassan Jaber, Executive Director of ACCESS (Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services), at the President’s annual State of the Union address on Tuesday, January 12. ACCESS was created to support the Arab immigrant population settling in America and now provides a range of social, economic, health and educational services to a diverse population.

“While our nation’s security should always be our first priority, I am deeply concerned with the heightened political rhetoric directed at refugees, particularly those from Syria and Iraq, who are fleeing ISIS. Michigan is home to a vibrant Arab American community, which includes some of the most patriotic individuals I know - including my friend, Hassan Jaber,” said Senator Peters, a member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee. “For decades, Hassan has been an advocate for refugees fleeing persecution and helped create the diversity that makes Michigan so strong. I am glad to have Hassan as my guest at this year’s State of the Union and stand with him in support of our refugee community.”

“I am honored to receive such an exclusive invitation by Senator Peters to attend this historic State of the Union address. We are truly appreciative of the Senator’s stance on immigration and refugee issues, and we commend him on his admirable leadership in helping to build a fair and solid future for our nation. As a community, and as citizens of this great nation, we stand firm that we are a strong union because of our unique diversity,” said Hassan Jaber, Executive Director of ACCESS.

ACCESS has been serving Michigan for 45 years. Founded by a group of dedicated volunteers in 1971 out of a storefront in Dearborn’s impoverished south end, ACCESS was created to assist the Arab immigrant population adapt to life in the United States. Today, ACCESS is the largest Arab American nonprofit in the United States with 10 locations and more than 100 programs that serve over 70,000 people annually throughout metro Detroit. In addition, ACCESS also has three national programs, the Arab American National Museum (AANM), the Center for Arab American Philanthropy (CAAP) and the National Network for Arab American Communities (NNAAC).

Senator Peters has been a strong supporter of Michigan’s Arab American community and opposes current efforts in Congress to effectively halt the refugee program. Refugees undergo the highest level of security checks of any category of traveler to the United States, including multiple checks from the National Counterterrorism Center, the Terrorist Screening Center, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense, and other agencies. Last September, Senator Peters traveled to the Middle East to meet with officials in Iraq, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar to discuss ongoing anti-ISIS military operations in Iraq and Syria. He also visited Za’atari Refugee Camp in Jordan, which is home to over 85,000 refugees, to learn firsthand about the critical role that the United States and its allies play in providing humanitarian assistance to millions of Syrian refugees.

Michigan and the metro Detroit area are home to one of the largest Arab American communities in the nation, contributing to Michigan’s diversity, culture, and economy. According to the Arab American Institute, over 223,000 Arab Americans call Michigan home - second only to California. A recent study found resettlement agencies spent $4.8 million, but refugees created a $48 million positive economic impact.

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