WASHINGTON-Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) Co-Chairs Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN), along with Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Rep. Marcia L. Fudge (D-OH), Chair-Elect of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) Linda Sánchez (D-CA), and Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) Judy Chu (D-CA) released the following statements after the Department of Justice (DOJ) released revised racial profiling guidance for federal law enforcement.
“Justice should be blind – the fact that law enforcement uses profiling at all is a blatant departure from the values we hold dear,” Rep. Grijalva said. “The rules announced today will help close this gap in justice, and further validate what study after study has already shown: Profiling is bad law enforcement.
“Unfortunately, loopholes in this rule that allow profiling to continue under certain circumstances only perpetuate a flawed policy, sowing distrust within targeted communities and leaving the American people less safe. We can and must close the door on all forms of profiling, not only with federal law enforcement, but all the way down to the local authorities that work day in and day out in our communities.”
"The profiling rules the Department of Justice released today earns a grade of C for protecting the civil liberties of all Americans," Rep. Ellison said. “It does some good things and fails on others. For example, the Progressive Caucus has long urged the DOJ to issue guidance that prevents law enforcement from discriminating based on national origin, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity. We are glad to see these groups included in the revised guidance. However, loopholes still exist. The FBI, TSA, and Customs and Border Patrol agents can still profile in the name of national security.
“The DOJ acknowledges discriminatory profiling is wrong and doesn’t help prevent crime, so why should it be allowed in cases of national security? An articulable suspicion of a particular crime must be the basis for stopping people, not just race or assumptions about religion or national origin. Our federal law enforcement agents should be required to uphold our basic Constitutional principles. Profiling guidance from the DOJ should protect all Americans from being unjustly mapped, monitored, and targeted."
“While I commend the Administration and the Department of Justice for the new policy it released today to help curb racial profiling on the federal level, their guidance for local law enforcement falls short of preventing the next Michael Brown or Eric Garner tragedy,” Rep. Fudge said. “It is imperative that they take the next step of establishing actual policy for all local police departments.
"This next step - addressing profiling in our communities - is critical because it is the negative - and often deadly - interactions of black and brown people with local law enforcement that most affects the quality of life for Americans nationwide. Further, if our national leaders are earnestly seeking to stem the tide of unfair and inequitable profiling in our country, they must also move to extend the same dignity and protections to those at our southwest border as well.
"Until all of these audiences are taken into consideration and protected equally, we will still have a long way to go to achieving the 'justice for all' ideal upon which our country was founded."
"The Department of Justice's updated guidance for federal law enforcement comes at a critical point in our nation’s history. The new profiling guidelines for law enforcement are long overdue and a step in the right direction,” Congresswoman Linda Sánchez said. “While I welcome the Department's expansion of characteristics for protection, the exclusion of certain law enforcement is concerning. It is important that all law enforcement - from the federal level down to the local level - follow the newly released updated guidance on profiling. The Hispanic Caucus commends Attorney General Holder's leadership on this issue. We look forward to continue working with the Department of Justice to prevent unfair, discriminatory profiling practices across all communities."
“Updating the racial profiling guidance comes at a crucial time when communities of color are increasingly feeling that they are being treated differently by law enforcement and before the law,” Rep. Chu said. “These changes are a positive step forward in that religion and national origin are included in the definition of profiling and that data collection and enhanced training will be required.
“However, I still have serious concerns about the remaining loopholes for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Transportation Security Administration and Customs and Border Protection that permit continued use of biased-based profiling. These entities would have a license to profile racial, religious and other minorities at our airports and borders under certain national security contexts. Law enforcement’s practice to map entire communities based on their race, ethnicity or religion would be allowed to continue. These gaps are very troublesome for the American Muslim, Sikh, and South Asian communities, who are increasingly subject to this type of surveillance. Our work is not done here. I will continue to work with the Department of Homeland Security to effectuate meaningful change and stronger protections for these communities.”
The CPC, CBC, CHC, and CAPAC previously sent a letter to Attorney General Holder asking him to update discriminatory profiling guidelines so that a person’s race, religion, nationality, or sexual orientation cannot make them a target for police.
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