U.S. Senator Charles Schumer Joins IAPAC Reception in New York City
New York, New York -The Iranian American Political Action Committee (IAPAC) held its annual New York City reception on July 22, 2007. The event, held at the home of Hamid and Laya Biglari, brought together Iranian Americans from the tri-state area to discuss IAPAC's role in enhancing Iranian American participation in the American political process.
The featured guest of the reception was Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY). A long time friend of the Iranian American community, Schumer is the senior U.S. Senator from New York, serving since 1999. In November 2006, he was elected to the new post of Vice Chairman of the Senate Democratic Caucus. In this position, he is the third-ranking Democrat in the U.S. Senate, behind Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin.
In his speech, Schumer recognized the tremendous contributions of Iranian Americans to American society. He thanked Iranian Americans for becoming a part of the U.S. and encouraged them to actively participate in the American political process. "America is a nation of volunteers. Volunteers create organizations like IAPAC who are well respected and listened to," Schumer said.
Schumer went on to acknowledge some of the immigration-related concerns of the Iranian American community. He explained that the U.S. government must do everything in its power to prevent the entry of terrorists into our nation. “At same time America should not exclude those individuals who want to come to the United States to do good,” Schumer said. He gave examples of how constituent representatives in his office have dealt with a number of cases of Iranian nationals who had difficulties securing visas, including a top-ranking executive from Deutsche Bank Group who was a German citizen of Iranian descent.
Following his speech, Schumer graciously and openly answered questions from the assembled guests. Before leaving the reception, the senator took pictures and spoke individually with many of the attendees.
Schumer's remarks were preceded by those of Mr. Biglari. Biglari began the group discussion with an eloquent introduction, welcoming the senator and sharing with him some related facts about the Iranian American community. "As individuals, Iranian Americans have gained significant achievements in all aspects of American life," he said.
Biglari cited 2000 U.S. Census figures, which show Iranian Americans among the most educated and affluent ethnic communities in the United States, as evidence of the community's success. He gave details on how, three decades after the majority of Iranian Americans arrived in the U.S., there is now a critical mass of civic-minded individuals who have come together to promote greater cultural understanding and give a voice to the community. Biglari acknowledged that IAPAC has played an important role in enabling the Iranian American community to influence the election of candidates for public office, and congratulated it for developing and maintaining relationships with lawmakers.
IAPAC is a registered bipartisan political action committee that contributes to candidates for public office. IAPAC focuses exclusively on domestic policy issues, such as civil liberties and immigration, and encourages Americans of Iranian descent to actively participate in civic affairs.
IAPAC has contributed to 28 candidates, to the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
Since its inception, IAPAC has leveraged contributions to candidates by working with community non-profit organizations to facilitate briefings on Capitol Hill on civil liberties and immigration issues as they relate to the Iranian American community. IAPAC has also worked with members of the House of Representatives to introduce a resolution declaring the Congress’ condemnation of discrimination against Iranian Americans in any form, and has provided Iranian Americans with direct access to their elected representatives by holding multiple formal and informal events.