End Racial Profiling, Make Us All Safer
April 17, 2012
Washington, D.C. — This morning the Senate’s Constitution and Civil Rights Subcommittee is convening to discuss “Ending Racial Profiling in America.” This is the first Senate hearing in more than ten years to focus on racial profiling, even though federal and state laws passed during that time have required profiling based on race and ethnicity in order to be implemented. The following is a statement by Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum.
“From every part of the country, evidence has emerged that the very real practice of racial profiling makes us less safe. It distracts law enforcement time and resources away from the efficient, targeted pursuit of individuals who actually pose a threat to public safety, and it undermines community trust.
“When victims and witnesses of crimes are afraid to come forward for fear of being profiled, the safety of all of us is threatened. In addition, laws that codify racial profiling, including but not limited to Arizona’s S.B. 1070 immigration law, divert valuable resources away from solving serious crimes. Any law that encourages discrimination is just plain wrong.
“Racial profiling also betrays fundamental American values of equality. Treating people of color with more suspicion, whether their families have been in this country for one generation or ten, undermines not only the constitutional rights of targeted groups, but also our core principles on which these rights are based.
“We welcome the opportunity Congress is taking to discuss the unfair, ineffective and harmful practice of racially motivated enforcement. We urge Congress to pass the “End Racial Profiling Act” (ERPA), which would ban racial profiling at the federal, state and local level. We also urge the Obama administration to reform the 2003 Department of Justice Guidance to explicitly reject profiling based on national security or religion and to close loopholes regarding border and national security. These concrete steps would bring our nation closer to banning the ineffective and unjust practice of racial profiling.”