Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson recently spoke at the first conference of the Middle East Law Enforcement Officers Association. Established a year ago, the organization compiles largely Arab and Muslim Americans who “wear a police uniform for federal agencies, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, Enforcement Removal Operations, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Field Operations and the U.S. Border Patrol” (per the Daily Beast). Also involved in the organization are non-Arabs, Christians and Jews, committed to the effort.
MELEO was co-founded by Fadia Odeh, who is Palestinian-Muslim, and explains why she decided to work at the U.S. Customs and Protection. “I never saw myself going into law enforcement. After 9/11, I was holding my baby, terrified for his future.”
At the meeting, which took place in Dearborn, Michigan, Arab-American police officers discussed ways to educate local police departments about the Arab and Muslim communities, and talked about scholarship proposals for students interested in law enforcement.
As Homeland Security Secretary, Jeh Johnson has led an outreach program toward the Arab-Americans and Muslim community and told the audience. “This is our ground force. You are ground forces. You live in the very communities we are trying to build bridges to.”