Washington, D.C.-The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) Co-Chairs Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN) sent a letter to PresidentObama today urginghim to sign a Good Jobs Executive Order. The text of the letter is below and a signed version can be found here. The Congressional Progressive Caucus also held a forum today to release the letter and discuss wage theft. The forum can be seen here.

Dear President Obama:


The Congressional Progressive Caucus writes to recommend a Good Jobs Executive Order.  The initiative would build on your recent executive order to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 for federal contract workers.  As a result of your leadership on fair wages and economic inequality, hundreds of thousands of workers will receive an overdue pay raise and fewer will rely on safety-net programs.  More businesses will be able to compete for contracts on the basis of quality and efficiency rather than by paying low wages.  Still, too many workers employed by federal contractors experience wage theft and lack standard workplace protections.  The Good Jobs Executive Order would address these important aspects of job fairness.  


Over the past thirty years, wages and benefits have stagnated or declined for most middle-class workers, as employers have increasingly resisted their efforts to achieve collective bargaining rights and union density has declined.  At the same time, violations of workers’ rights like wage theft, which includes off-the-clock work and non-payment of overtime, remain unaddressed.  


These trends are prevalent in the federal contracting community. A recent Demos report found that many of the federal contracting jobs in the private sector provide poverty-level or lower-wage jobs that do not support a middle class living standard for workers and their families. Many of these jobs are held by women and people of color. A report by the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee of the United States Senate (HELP) found that 35 percent of the largest Department of Labor penalties for wage theft were levied against federal contractors. According to the report, more than $500 billion government dollars go to companies that receive federal contracts each year. These companies employ around one-fifth of the entire American workforce or approximately 26 million workers. 


One of the most effective ways to spur economic growth and build the middle class is to reform federal contracting policy.  The Congressional Progressive Caucus calls for a Good Jobs Executive Order that includes the following provisions: 


  1. 1. Guaranteeing labor and employment law protections.  Identify and track violations of workers’ legal protections to facilitate swift corrective action.  Prevent law-breakers from receiving federal contracts.  Expand worker protections to the federally-supported workers that are currently exempt from existing workplace laws.  
  2. 2. Adopting a “Fair Compensation preference.”  Provide a preference in contracting decisions for employers that pay a living wage and a full benefits package, including a health care, paid sick and family leave, and fair work schedules.
  3. 3. Respecting workers’ rights to negotiate.  Provide a preference in contracting decisions for employers that respect the right of their workers to collectively bargain for fair wages and working conditions without having to go on strike. 

Anyone who works full time should make enough to meet their basic needs.  A Good Jobs Executive Order, which could impact millions of workers, is a logical next step after raising the wage of federal contract workers to $10.10 earlier this year. We urge you to adopt it as a centerpiece of your ongoing effort to grow and strengthen the middle class. We stand ready to work with you.


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WASHINGTON—Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) Co-Chairs Reps. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN) released the following statement today after President Obama signed an executive order protecting federal contract workers from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. 

“We applaud President Obama for signing an executive order to protect employees of federal contractors from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Equally important are the protections included for transgender federal workers. No American should fear discrimination on the job because of who they are or who they love. The executive order signed today brings us one step closer to protecting the rights of all Americans in the workplace.  

“Discrimination is never acceptable. Today, there are no federal laws protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) Americans from being fired for their gender identity or sexual orientation, and nearly 40% of workers who identify as LGBT report experiencing some form of employment discrimination. 

“We must continue to work to prevent discrimination by passing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) in the House of Representatives. Our nation does best when all Americans are protected fairly and equally on the job.” 

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WASHINGTON—Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Reps Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN), along with Reps. Barbara Lee (D-CA), Jim Moran (D-VA), John Conyers (D-MI) and Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) released the following statements today after an agreement was reached for a four-month extension on negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program between the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, China, Russia (P5+1) and Iran.

“News of a four month extension in negotiations with Iran means the prospect for an Iran without nuclear ambitions is still very possible,” Rep. Grijalva said. “It also means peaceful and normalized relations are well within the scope of possibility. I am encouraged to see all parties involved continue the momentum towards that goal, and encourage them to take the time, space and steps needed to succeed where others have failed.”

“We are on the edge of a significant moment in the history of diplomacy,” Rep. Ellison said. “Congress should not undermine our diplomats during negotiations with Iran’s representatives in Vienna. Since negotiations began, Iran has complied with the Joint Plan of Action. Transparency and access have increased. We now know more about Iran’s nuclear capabilities. If negotiators need more time to reach a comprehensive agreement, we should support them, not make it harder for them to do their jobs by passing more sanctions. It is in America’s best interest to continue on the path of diplomacy.”

“Last year's first-step deal addressing Iran’s nuclear program was a diplomatic victory that directly reduces Iran’s ability to achieve breakout capacity,” said Rep. Lee. “This extension will continue to restrict Iran’s nuclear capability while creating the diplomatic space and time for a long-term deal that supports U.S. national security interests and a more peaceful and secure world.”

“It is critical that Congress take no action that undermines the Administration’s diplomatic efforts during this extension which was provided for under the Joint Plan of Action,” Rep. Moran said. “I continue to be hopeful that an agreement can be reached which will avert the threat of a militarized Iranian nuclear program.”

“There’s only one safe and sensible way to stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon—diplomacy,” Rep. Conyers said. “The temporary agreement reached last year has yielded real benefits for the US and the broader world. The choice is whether we continue to build on this success or return to mutually destructive confrontation.  Denying our negotiators the time they need to secure an agreement would simply result in Iran unfreezing its nuclear program.  While some advocate for additional sanctions, these measures would counterproductively embolden hardliners in Iran’s government and put us back on a path to war.  Americans oppose the use of military force against Iran by a margin of 70 to 22, and for good reason: War with Iran would be disastrous for US interests and carry unacceptable costs in terms of lives and treasure. Americans know that we must give diplomacy a full opportunity to succeed so we can direct our limited resources towards urgently-needed rebuilding here at home.”

“Our families are safer from any potential Iranian nuclear weapons today than we were prior to these ongoing negotiations,” Rep. Doggett said. “Those who so loudly criticized the interim agreement were wrong. Regular, intrusive inspections have given us much more information and have frozen nuclear weapon development. Iran has received just enough sanctions relief to demonstrate the potential benefits of cooperation but not enough to rejuvenate its economy. With continued careful monitoring and more tough negotiating, this extension offers an opportunity to advance our security objectives by finalizing a solid alternative to war. Congress must not impede the progress.”

Washington, D.C. –The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) Co-Chairs Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN) submitted comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet. The CPC previously sent a letter to Chairman Wheeler urging him to use reclassification to protect net neutrality. 


The text of the comments is below and a signed version can be found here.





The Congressional Progressive Caucus [co-chairs Representative Raúl Grijalva and Representative Keith Ellison] submits these comments in response to the Commission’s May 15th Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet.[1]


More than three dozen Members of our Caucus and Members of Congress wrote to Chairman Wheeler before the release of that Notice, voicing support for “strong and enforceable open Internet rules that proactively protect Internet users from unfair practices, including the blockage of lawful traffic or discrimination among content providers by Internet Service Providers (ISPs).”[2]  We appreciate the Chairman’s response to our letter, in which he agreed that “the Commission must craft meaningful rules to protect the Open Internet” and assured us he would “utilize the best tools available . . . to ensure the Commission adopts effective and resilient open Internet rules.”[3]  Unfortunately, the Commission’s tentative proposal in the Notice does not live up to those assurances.


The proposed rules simply would not be effective to prevent blocking and unreasonable discrimination by broadband ISPs.  Weakening these rules beyond repair by basing them on discredited assumptions of the Commission’s legal authority would pose a grave threat to the open Internet and all of the benefits it brings to our constituents and our country.

Protecting American Ingenuity for All 


The Internet provides a platform not just for the powerful and privileged, but for individuals and groups whose voices have traditionally been ignored.  It currently provides an accessible and democratic outlet for all types of opinions, no matter where they fall on the political or social spectrum.  It increases civic participation, involvement in the electoral process, and access to government services.  It enhances educational opportunities, creates jobs, and bridges distances and divides – both in geography and opportunity.  It lets us tell our own stories, making room for the voices of women, people of color, LGBT individuals, low-wealth households, members of all religious groups and ethnic populations, and residents of rural and urban areas alike.  The Internet as we know it has spawned a new era of American innovation that benefited consumers and enterprises alike.  It allows individuals, small businesses and start-ups to freely pursue the American dream and to compete against multinational corporations and conglomerates on the basis of ideas and technology.


All of that would change if the Commission takes the wrong path in this proceeding.  While Broadband ISPs provide some of the infrastructure to reach the Internet, there is no reason to abandon longstanding Net Neutrality principles and give a handful of companies disproportionate control over the choices Americans have once they get online. Four companies currently control broadband Internet access to 75% of the country.  Any proposal that allows for content prioritization to be made on the basis of “payola” rather than efficiency of data delivery will allow a small cadre of corporations to have undue influence over innovation and speech.  If the Chairman’s proposed changes to our Internet were in place years ago, truly democratic and deeply impactful innovations like YouTube, Etsy, or Kickstarter may have never flourished.

There is no evidence to support the notion that a choice must be made between openness and affordability. Access to a slow lane and a second-class Internet is not good enough, and it’s not a bargain anyone should be asked or compelled to accept.

The Commission Cannot Protect the Open Internet While Allowing Discrimination


As we noted in our letter, without strong protections against ISP interference, “the Internet could devolve into a closed platform in which those who pay the most can overwhelm other views and ideas.”[4]  Chairman Wheeler’s response discussed ISPs’ obvious incentives to exert this kind of control in order to boost their own bottom lines, at the expense of free expression and economic opportunities for others.  As the Chairman wrote, “[t]he Commission has already found, and the court has agreed, that broadband providers have economic incentives and technological tools to engage in behavior that can limit Internet openness and harm consumers and competition.”[5]


The court in question is the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, which struck down several of the Commission’s Open Internet rules earlier this year.  It did so not because not because of the merits of those rules, or any flaw in the policies they promote, but the legal theory the put forward to support them.  The Commission proposes in the Notice to adopt new rules replacing those just overturned – yet proposes using the same legal theory that the court just rejected.


In his response to our letter, Chairman Wheeler suggested that he shared our concerns “about arrangements that would prioritize certain traffic and allow ISPs to discriminate against other traffic.”[6]  He said that “there must only be one Internet. It must be fast, robust and open for everyone.”[7]  We could not agree more.


That is why we were disappointed to find in the Commission’s Notice proposed rules that “would allow broadband providers sufficient flexibility to negotiate terms of service individually with edge providers . . . without having to hold themselves out to serve all comers indiscriminately on the same or standardized terms.”[8]  Similarly problematic, and equally disappointing, are the Commission’s tentative conclusions to “permit broadband providers to engage in individualized practices” [9] and “carry traffic on an individually negotiated basis.”[10]


Granting broadband providers such “flexibility” could mean an end to the Internet as we know it.  The Commission simply cannot claim that it will simultaneously prevent discrimination online while explicitly letting ISPs decide when and where to discriminate and provide preferential treatment to individual websites.


Congress Has Already Given the Commission the Authority to Prevent Discrimination


The Commission should use its clear authority under Title II of the Communications Act to prevent unjust ISP practices and unreasonable discrimination.  Reclassifying broadband Internet access as a telecommunications service would provide all the authority needed for strong open Internet rules.  Reclassification also would complement the Commission’s efforts to promote innovation, competition and investment in universally available, reliable and affordable broadband infrastructure.


Recognizing our nation’s communications providers as common carriers is common sense, and the only way for the Commission to accomplish its stated goals for this proceeding


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Washington, D.C. –The Congressional Progressive Caucus sent a proposal to the White House today urging President Obama to take a kids first approach to address the humanitarian crisis on the southern border. The full proposal can be seen here. En español here


“The act of seeking asylum in the face of violence is not new, nor is it specific to just the United States, Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva  (D-AZ) said. “To see politicians oversimplifying this desperate plea for help as an immigration enforcement issue is concerning, and to see their willingness to weaken the protections of the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act is even more so.


“We must place the well being of these kids first. We should allow the protections in our existing laws to play their intended role. We should reassess the aid we send to nations with corrupt police and military forces to ensure we are part of the solution, not the problem,” Rep. Grijalva continued. “Most of all, we must realize that increased enforcement on our border is a solution in need of a problem, and proponents of militarization are using the plight of these kids to achieve their political agenda.”


Thousands of children seeking refuge in our country are at risk, and this proposal puts their needs ahead of politics,” Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) said. “The solutions to this crisis must put the safety of the kids first and respect their right to due process under our nation’s laws.”


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WASHINGTON—Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) Co-Chairs Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) reacted to The Intercept's report that the National Security Agency (NSA) spied on at least five Muslim-American leaders from 2002 to 2008.

“Americans should be alarmed by reports that the NSA may be unjustly targeting Muslim American community leaders,” Rep. Grijalva said. “This is a country that believes in the freedom of religion – there is no excuse for the government to target citizens for exercising that right. Unfortunately, tactics like this achieve the opposite of their purported intent. Instead of making us safer, they breed mistrust and breakdown communication between the public and its defenders.”

“I share the concerns of many Americans who feel the NSA has violated their civil liberties by monitoring them without cause. The Intercept report is particularly troubling because it suggests that Americans were targeted because of their faith and civic engagement. Unfortunately, the NYPD’s spying on Muslims with the CIA's help and the FBI's use of hateful anti-Muslim training materials makes this concern legitimate.  

“An American’s faith does not give law enforcement reasonable suspicion to violate their constitutional rights," Rep. Ellison said. "Suspicious behavior indicating criminal behavior should be the basis for attracting law enforcement surveillance—not a person’s religion. Profiling based on religion breeds distrust and resentment in communities that are potential partners in the fight against crime. I am requesting a full explanation as to why these Americans were targeted and hope the practice officially ended in 2008.

“Muslim-Americans continue to face bigotry and hatred, but the NSA’s former spying practices undermines our entire nation’s progress towards greater inclusion. Undue surveillance has a chilling effect in all communities. It tells young boys and girls who want to serve their country in the military or in elected office to stay out of the public space. This is wrong. We cannot allow fear and hatred to drown the inclusive promise of our nation. The United States Government must protect all Americans no matter what they believe, the color of their skin, where they’re from or who they love."

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WASHINGTON— Co-Chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) Reps. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN) released the following statement today after the Supreme Court ruled in Hobby Lobby v. Burwell that certain corporations have the right to deny workers birth control coverage in their health care plans on grounds of religious objection.

“Today’s decision is a step backwards for women’s rights in America. The Roberts’ Court consistently rules in favor of corporations and today’s decision allows executives to interfere with a woman’s health care decisions.

“A woman's personal health choices, including family planning, are not her boss’ business. Denial of contraceptive coverage will require women to pay more for health care—nearly 60% of women who use birth control cite non-contraceptive reasons for taking it. 

“While the ruling accepts the importance of other medical care screenings, it neglects the importance of family planning and the rights of women to make choices without interference from employers. Employee health decisions should never be made by corporate executives, no matter what the circumstance.” 

WASHINGTON— Co-Chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) Reps. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN) released the following statement today after the Supreme Court’s ruling in Harris v. Quinnmade it harder for home health care workers to collectively bargain for better wages, benefits, and working conditions.  

“Stagnant wages and increased income inequality have made it critical for workers to join forces in their fight for a decent living. The right to organize means workers can stand together for respect on the job.  

"Today’s narrow ruling is disappointing, but it doesn’t stop home health care workers, who are subject to some of the worst labor conditions in the United States, from organizing.  It’s unacceptable that home health agencies rank among the most profitable industries and at the same time oppose paying their employees overtime or even minimum wage.  These workers provide essential services to seniors and people with disabilities in our country - they deserve a fair paycheck.

"Organizing is the most effective way for working Americans to stand up to corporations who want to lead a race to the bottom for working conditions and wages. This case is a clear attempt to open the door to future attacks on public sector workers. We must remain vigilant and support workers organizing for higher wages and better working conditions.” 

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.”

WASHINGTON—Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) Co-Chairs Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) joined CPC Whip Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) in applauding the release of a White House memo outlining the government’s authority for using drones to kill U.S. citizens overseas.

“With the release of this memo, the American people have a glimpse into decisions made in our name where lives hang in the balance,” said Rep. Grijalva. “The fact that American lives are on the line too should give all of us pause. It’s time to end the secrecy surrounding our drone policies, and I applaud the administration’s move to release this memo. It’s a far cry from outright transparency, but it is a good first step.”

“The American people have a right to know their government’s justification for the use of force abroad,” Rep. Ellison said. “We need to restrict the use of drones in Yemen, Pakistan and elsewhere. The American people can now learn more about a program that has claimed the lives of innocents and damaged our reputation abroad. The release of this secret memo is a victory for transparency. But more must be done to inform the public and have accountable policies.”

“The release of this secret memo is a good step toward transparency but we have a long way to go,” Rep. Lee said. “Congress must repeal the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), which has allowed endless war with little Congressional debate, input or oversight.”

The Congressional Progressive Caucus has led the way on transparency in the U.S. drone program, holding an ad-hoc hearing last summer and endorsing legislation to bring the legal reasoning behind the drone program into the light.