Racial Profiling: Face the Truth Campaign

OneAmerica Fights Against Racial Profiling

From the start, OneAmerica has fought against racial profiling and supported legislation to ban the systemic practice. For years, we have been working with the Rights Working Group, a coalition of more than 340 local, state, and national organizations that work collaboratively to advocate for the civil liberties and human rights of everyone regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, citizenship or immigration status. To raise awareness about racial profiling and to promote the Face the Truth Campaign, OneAmerica and the Rights Working Group are co-hosting RWG's 2012 National Meeting and are presenting a Community Speak Out! - Racial Profiling in the NW.

In addition to the Face the Truth Campaign, OneAmerica seeks to educate our policy makers about the increasing collaboration between border patrol and local law enforcement. Partnering with the University of Washington Center for Human Rights and northern border communities, OneAmerica released The Growing Human Rights Crisis Report in April 2012, which highlights personal testimonies from those who suffer from this increased collaboration, as well as proposals to protect the northern border without compromising human rights.

What is Racial Profiling?

Racial profiling is the use of race, ethnicity, religion, or national origin by law enforcement agents as a factor in deciding who to investigate, arrest, or detain, except where these characteristics are part of a specific suspect description. It is a degrading practice and continues largely unchecked, violating the human and civil rights of those targeted:

• Members of African American, Native American and Latino/Hispanic communities are stopped and searched more often, for example, when "driving while black or brown" than whites;

• Since September 11, 2001, members of Arab, Muslim, and South Asian communities have increasingly been searched, interrogated and detained in the name of "national security", often times labeled "terrorism suspects" when in reality many were only charged with misdemeanors or minor immigration violations, if they were charged at all;

• In recent years, law enforcement has singled out members of a third population under the guise of immigration enforcement-disproportionately harassing, interrogating, physically abusing and detaining individuals perceived to be Latino or Hispanic, many of them U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents. By focusing on arbitrary factors unrelated to criminal activity rather than on specific indicators of criminal behavior or specific information about a criminal suspect, law enforcement agents decrease the hit rate on catching criminals and lose the trust of community members who believe agents to be biased or unjust. As a result, community members become less likely to assist with criminal investigations or seek protection from police when they themselves are victimized, which makes everyone less safe.

What Policies Do We Want Changed?

In order to promote and protect the human rights of all people regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, national origin or immigration status, Rights Working Group recommends:

1. Congress should introduce and pass the "End Racial Profiling Act" which would ban racial profiling at the federal, state and local level.

2. The Obama Administration should revise the 2003 Department of Justice guidance on racial profiling to eliminate the border and national security loopholes, to include profiling based on religion and national origin, and to ensure that the guidance is enforceable. Sign a Petition.

3. Congress and the Obama Administration should eliminate Department of Homeland Security programs such as 287(g), CAP and the Secure Communities initiative that result in racial profiling.

2003 DOJ Guidance Regarding the Use of Race by Federal Law Enforcement Agencies
Although the Department of Justice issued guidance prohibiting the use of race by federal law enforcement agencies in 2003, this guidance is not enforceable, it does not address profiling based on religion or national origin, and it leaves a gaping loophole that allows racial profiling for "national security" purposes and at U.S. borders.

Inappropriate Local Enforcement of Federal Immigration Laws
Formal programs like 287(g), ICE ACCESS, and Secure Communities that enforce federal immigration laws through state and local criminal justice systems, along with informal local enforcement of federal immigration laws, have resulted in pre-textual arrests of people who the police perceive to be "foreign," including citizens and lawful permanent residents, in order to check immigration status.

The "End Racial Profiling Act"
Racial profiling is an ineffective law enforcement tool, harms community security and is profoundly unjust. Banning the practice requires comprehensive federal legislation. The "End Racial Profiling Act" prohibits profiling based on race, ethnicity, religion and national origin by federal, state and local law enforcement agents.

 

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