DEARBORN — Abed Hammoud, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney, has been named the new co-chair of BRIDGES (Building Respect in Diverse Groups to Enhance Sensitivity).
Hammoud has extensive experience in law, practicing at both the state and federal levels, including his eight years serving as assistant U.S. Attorney and 15 years as assistant Wayne County prosecutor. Many in the community consider Hammoud an asset due to his accomplished career, and long time dedication and involvement in its affairs. He has also dedicated his time and professional expertise in furthering the community’s civil rights needs.
BRIDGES is an alliance between the Arab American and Middle Eastern communities and federal law enforcement agencies created to address and rectify the concerns of the Arab American and Middle Eastern communities. BRIDGES was created following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in an effort to prevent and alleviate discrimination against those communities.
The group consists of different representatives and leaders from federal agencies, community organizations and law enforcement. The federal agencies include the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and other federal agencies.
Right now, in addition to regular BRIDGES meetings, we started special meetings with the CBP in the Detroit area, and that’s important because CBP is one of the agencies where most of the encounters between the public and federal agencies happen. – Abed Hammoud, BRIDGES Co-chair
Hammoud said his goal is to continue the work of BRIDGES, “which has created a good channel of communication between the community and the federal government.”
This is done through meetings the group frequently conducts to gather those concerned and willing to address specific issues. According to Hammoud, meetings are also held with elected and appointed officials as well as agencies with which members of the Arab American community interact regularly, such as CBP at the ports of entry into the country.
Some of the issues discussed may include immigration, border crossings, hate crimes, no-fly lists, cultural sensitivity and law enforcement policies.
“Right now, in addition to regular BRIDGES meetings, we started special meetings with the CBP in the Detroit area, and that’s important because CBP is one of the agencies where most of the encounters between the public and federal agencies happen,” Hammoud told The Arab American News.
Hammoud succeeds Nasser Beydoun, the chairman of the Arab American Civil Rights League (ACRL), who was named co-chair of BRIDGES on May 22, 2019. Beydoun co-chaired BRIDGES through the pandemic.