Leaders from the Congressional Progressive Caucus, the Congressional Black Caucus, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus sent a letter to Attorney General Holder yesterday asking for a meeting on new guidelines for racial profiling. The quad-caucus letter was signed by Reps. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) for the Progressive Caucus, Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) for the Black Caucus, Ruben Hinojosa (D-Texas) for the Hispanic Caucus and Judy Chu (D-Calif.) for the Asian Pacific American Caucus. The text of the letter is below and a .pdf version can be found here.
As leaders of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, the Congressional Black Caucus, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, and as the representatives of millions of Americans who will be affected by the Department of Justice’s revisions to its 2003 guidance on racial profiling, we write to respectfully request a meeting with you before the new guidance is finalized.
We appreciate the difficult job the Department of Justice and other law enforcement agencies do to pursue justice for Americans and keep our country safe. Recent news reports indicate that the Department of Justice plans to strengthen anti-profiling provisions, but that federal law enforcement agencies would still be able to engage in profiling that could violate the constitutional rights of American citizens. It is critical that the revised guidance prohibit profiling based on race, religion, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation and gender identity. It must also eliminate loopholes for border and national security, apply to state and local law enforcement agencies that partner with the federal government or receive federal finding, and cover surveillance activities.
These improvements will help ensure that the rights of our nation’s increasingly diverse citizens are protected from the inappropriate use of profiling by law enforcement officials. The revised guidance should reduce instances of Customs and Border Protection agents routinely stopping law-abiding Latino-Americans on suspected immigration violations, and the FBI’s practice of mapping entire ethnic communities without any basis for individualized suspicion, including African-Americans, Russian-Americans, Chinese-Americans, Arab-Americans and Muslim-Americans. The revised guidance
must mitigate the invasive searches Sikh-Americans endure at airport security simply because of their appearance, and the interrogations Muslim-Americans sometimes experience regarding their constitutionally protected religious beliefs and political activities.
We appreciate your commitment to ending racial profiling in all its forms and look forward to meeting with you to discuss how law enforcement agencies can do their job while upholding their obligation to treat all Americans fairly and equally under the law.