WASHINGTON— Co-Chairs of the Progressive Caucus (CPC) Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ.) and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN.), Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Rep. Marcia L. Fudge (D-OH), Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) Rubén Hinojosa (D-TX) and Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA.) joined Senator Cardin (D-MD), Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), advocates and victims of profiling today at a press conference to discuss the impact of profiling and to launch the #MoreThanAProfile campaign.
Video of the press conference can be found here.
“The best way to honor the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act is to move forward additional changes that are critically needed to strengthen the civil rights of all Americans. I am proud to join the leaders of the House Quad Caucuses in this effort,” said Senator Cardin. “Racial profiling is un-American. It has no place within the values of our country. It should have no place in law enforcement. It wastes valuable resources. It turns communities against the partnerships needed to keep our communities safe. It can harm people. It has to end.”
“Profiling erodes trust in local authorities and undercuts law enforcement’s ability to do their job,” Rep. Grijalva said. “It betrays our core principles as a nation, targeting segments of our population as suspect instead of ensuring all Americans are innocent until proven guilty. It is time for Attorney General Holder to banish this tactic entirely, and ensure Constitutional protections are applied equally throughout America, regardless of race, gender or creed.”
“The stories we heard today illustrate the negative effects of profiling on our communities,” Rep. Ellison said. “Attorney General Eric Holder has indicated he is willing to rewrite the guidance on profiling and these stories provide compelling evidence that it is time to act. The federal government has an opportunity to set a strong example for state and local law enforcement by protecting all Americans regardless of religion, skin color, national origin, sexual orientation and gender identity from profiling.”
“Racial profiling continues to make communities of innocent individuals fear a system designed to protect them.” Rep. Fudge said. “Innocent people, mostly people of color, live in constant fear of being stopped and frisked, of having their homes raided, or being detained without reasonable suspicion. Time and time again, we’ve also seen the deadly consequences of assuming someone’s guilt because of their race or religion. Racial profiling is wrong, and it is an unconstitutional, ineffective use of law enforcement resources. For the sake of our communities and the trust they have with those whose job is to protect them, we call on the Department of Justice to issue guidelines that ban all forms of discriminatory policing and profiling in this country.”
"There is no place for profiling of any sort in our country, whether that is profiling based on race, national origin or religion,” Rep. Hinojosa said. “Latinos and other minorities across the country have been victims of discrimination by federal law enforcement agents. We must put an end to that discrimination and ensure that all individuals are treated equally under the law."
“Profiling based on people’s skin color, the language they speak, or whom they pray to, creates a culture of fear,” Rep. Judy Chu said. “It also goes against logic because profiling weakens the relationship between law enforcement and communities – making them less safe. DOJ’s profiling guidance contains loopholes that make profiling of Sikhs, Muslims, Arab and South Asian Americans commonplace today. They must be updated to reflect a 21st century America and our fundamental values as a nation.”
“What I said in a June 2003 Letter to Attorney General John Ashcroft is equally applicable to Attorney General Eric Holder in June 2014: ‘We were pleased to see the Department largely embrace the ban on racial profiling defined in our legislation, the End Racial Profiling Act. The guidelines, however, fail to provide a comprehensive, nationwide ban and solution to the problem. There is considerable ambiguity in the guidelines on the use of race/ethnicity in the national security context. While we agree that there is no more important role for government than protecting the security of the American people, safety need not come at the sacrifice of civil liberties.’ As Congress carries out its responsibility to enact strong anti-profiling legislation, we hope that the Department of Justice will participate fully in the process by updating this important policy statement as a critical first step to the passage of legislation,” Rep. John Conyers said.
“The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights stands with congressional leaders to urge the Justice Department to revise their 11-year-old Guidance Regarding the Use of Race by Federal Law Enforcement Agencies,” Wade Henderson, President and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, said. “Discriminatory profiling is not only morally wrong and ineffective, it undermines the integrity of our criminal justice system. The Guidance must include all forms of profiling including national origin and religion. Additionally, we urge the DOJ to close loopholes that allow for the discriminatory ineffective practice of profiling to continue in national security and border contexts.”
“The current exemptions make the guidance virtually meaningless because federal agents are not covered when engaging in the largest areas of federal police work—national security and border enforcement,” Laura W. Murphy, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office, said. We’ve been living under this loophole-ridden guidance since 2003 and it’s long past time for the attorney general to end this humiliating, discriminatory and unconstitutional practice. The attorney general can send a clear message to state and local officials that racial profiling has no place in law enforcement.”
"Equal treatment under law is a bedrock principle of our nation. Muslim Advocates joins members of Congress in calling on the Attorney General to enact comprehensive and meaningful revisions to the Justice Department's Guidance Regarding the Use of Race by Federal Law Enforcement Agencies,” Farhana Khera, Executive Director of Muslim Advocates, said. “With the Guidance in its current form, millions of Americans find themselves targeted by law enforcement simply because of their national origin or religion. A proscription on profiling on these bases is long overdue. Additionally, the Guidance's profiling exceptions for national security and border integrity must be eliminated. Without these changes, whole American communities--Hispanic Americans, Sikh Americans, Asian Americans, American Muslims, and many others-- are denied the same rights and freedoms as their fellow Americans. The Attorney General must act to right this wrong.”
“The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) in agreement with congressional leaders to urge the Justice Department to revise their 11-year-old Guidance Regarding the Use of Race by Federal Law Enforcement Agencies,” Angelo McClain, CEO for the National Association of Social Workers, said. “Racial profiling by law enforcement is not only an affront to social justice values; it is ineffective and undermines the integrity of our criminal justice system. NASW feels that the Guidance must not only include racial profiling, but all forms of profiling including national origin and religion.”
“South Asian Americans Leading Together is proud to stand with Members of Congress as they push for an effective prohibition on profiling,” Suman Raghunathan, Executive Director of the South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), said. “South Asian communities nationwide have long suffered the consequences of profiling, which sows distrust of law enforcement. Many of the unjust experiences individuals in our communities face remain unaddressed by the original Department of Justice Guidance. It is critical that the prohibition against profiling includes national origin and religion, unwarranted surveillance activities, and local and state law enforcement who receive federal funds. We must eliminate border security and national integrity loopholes that swallow the rule. The current Guidance allows for many forms of profiling that violate our civil rights, are ineffective, and destroy relationships with communities. Advocates have been demanding change for over a decade – our communities can wait no longer.”
“The Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund stands with our fellow Americans and asks the Justice Department to revise the Guidance Regarding the Use of Race by Federal Law Enforcement Agencies,” Jasjit Singh, Executive Director of the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund said. “Sikh Americans can describe first-hand how discriminatory profiling is damaging to communities across this nation, and is not a reflection of American ideals.”
“Since September 11, 2001, thousands of innocent Americans have been wrongfully targeted by federal law enforcement officials because of their race, religion and national origin. They have been searched, investigated, and detained without cause in the name of national security," Nihad Awad, National Executive Director, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said. "The Council on American-Islamic Relations joins the Quad Caucus and members of Congress in urging the Department of Justice to meaningfully revise its 2003 policy guidance on racial profiling to include measures that prevent profiling based on religion and national origin and eliminate loopholes that permit profiling at U.S. borders and for reasons of national security. Profiling is unconstitutional and does not reflect American values. Profiling is also not effective law enforcement and diverts precious resources away from criminal investigations of individuals who have been linked to criminal activity by specific and credible evidence.”